The State of the Union presented an opportunity for Microsoft to expand its reach with tech-savvy Latinos, as it launched the Spanish version of Microsoft Pulse in partnership with NBC Universo and Telemundo.

President Obama's final State of the Union speech last night was an opportunity for Microsoft to launch the Spanish-language version of Pulse, its real-time audience sentiment tracking software.

The platform has now been integrated into mainstream network political coverage for more than a couple years, but last night marked Microsoft's first partnership with Spanish-language media outlets NBC Universo and Telemundo bringing Pulse's engagement features to the networks' Latino audiences.

Microsoft Pulse, first and now formerly branded as Bing Pulse, is a multi-platform online voting system that gives audiences the chance to give real-time feedback during live events.

The experience and results of Pulse are much like those continually fluctuating lines networks display from focus groups that are given dialers to turn up or down (like or dislike) while they watch an important political speech -- except Pulse is open to participation from anyone with an Internet connection on any device or web browser.

For example, here's how Latinos reacted to a portion of the State of the Union speech last night as measured by the Spanish-language version of Microsoft Pulse.

Taking the Audience's Pulse

As far as platforms for expressing your reaction to live events online, Pulse is unique in that it continually tracks your basic sentiments in a much less distracting way than other avenues.

Social media sites like Twitter are the established go-to "watercoolers in the cloud" for audiences, especially social media-inclined Latinos, to express reactions to live events like TV shows, sports, and speeches by policymakers. But anyone who's tweeted during a show or event knows that the processes of writing something that's even just a few characters can divert your attention from what's going on.

Pulse, on the other hand, lets you continually update your reactions on a continuous basis (every five seconds) or as infrequently as you want. And expressing yourself can be as simple as clicking on a button or as complicated as answering multiple choice polls.

Besides providing a voice for audiences to express their real-time reactions, the data aggregated by Microsoft's platform is a boon to networks, market researchers, and any organization interested in learning more about what viewers are thinking and how they're feeling at any given moment during an event. And, as is the case with social "second-screen" experiences, audiences become more engaged with what they're watching.

"To date, Microsoft Pulse has enabled millions of Americans to make their voices heard on important issues and during key forums and moments in time -- from company meetings to the State of the Union address, " said Microsoft's director of technology and civic engagement Dritan Nesho in a statement released to Latin Post.

"Its growth and success demonstrate how online technology can empower people to engage and become active participants in the decisions that affect their lives," he added. "On the other hand, Pulse allows broadcasters, and any organization seeking to connect with its audience and customers, to enable instant participation and real-time feedback."

New Features: More Engagement & More Data

Besides adding Spanish-dominant Latino audiences to Pulse through its integration with NBC Universo and Telemundo's coverage last night, Microsoft added a few new features to its real-time reaction platform to enrich both the ways audiences participate and the data that can be drawn from them.

One new feature introduced last night was "social annotations." Social annotations basically expands the conversation between networks and audiences, no matter which social platform viewers choose.

Last night, for example, the feature allowed Telemundo and NBC Universo's producers to broadcast their commentary at any point during the speech to Pulse users about what they're seeing in audience reactions. Then users could share or comment on any annotation through social media channels like Twitter, which the producers could read and possibly add to their broadcast, thanks to Microsoft integrating those social media APIs into Pulse.

Microsoft also integrated Azure Media Services, its chief enterprise cloud-computing platform, into Pulse, which gave broadcasters the ability to push their own video content out to Pulse users, for example, during commercial breaks.