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Liveblogging the Microsoft Search News

By - May 28, 2009

Bing_c_CMYK_rev.pngWhile the company still is mum on what it’s announcing today at the D Conference (update it’s now official….), everyone at the event presumes Steve Ballmer will be debuting Microsoft’s new take on search, widely rumored to be called Bing. I am not certain there will be wifi coverage in the main ballroom, but it there is, I will be liveblogging his talk starting at 8.30 am PST. If there is not, look for my updates via SMS on Twitter.

Some of my notes:

Steve is being very Steve – emphatic, in selling mode, drinking a massive Starbucks iced coffee. Discussing why Bing, why now he says Microsoft decided search needed a new brand, but: “Building a brand is a step, step, STEP (almost yelling)!” Bing is a brand that consumers can get their mind around. We have to grow significantly relatively to where we are. We have to build brand equity as well as technology equity.

Walt Mossberg asks why “Bing”? Not Bing Crosby?! No, Steve says, it’s short, it works globally, they could get the URLs, makes for a good brand.

On to the demo. Yusuf Mehdi joins Steve on the stage. nikon.png

Live version goes up June 3.

He shows the Bing home page. Steve interrupts: “This is not something that pushes us to 80%” market share. But it’s got some good stuff.

New features:

They point out that 25% of clicks on search is on the back button – IE, folks are not getting what they want. So they are focusing on fixing that.

“Best Match” – the one that is most authoritative. Does a search on Cannes film festival and the results are very good, including better answers instead of “following a million links”.

The snippet is far more advanced.

A search for UPS shows just what Bing thinks most folks are looking for. Including customer service numbers. Live search for Microsoft shows their customer service number. That gets applause from the crowd.

The focus is on head end and service related answers like for flights, etc. It’s going over well.

Another focus is helping with research and tasks.

“Taking a bet that search engines are not designed well to help with research.”

The left nav bar is a big change. It uses a lot of key space to do navigation – essentially taking core search and laying an application interface over it. This is an important new approach.

I like this – the idea of seeing search as a core dataset upon which a more sophisticated navigation interface is overlaid. I’ve been talking about that for a while….

The big difference is that Bing brings most of the web woven into the search interface, instead of the way most of us search now, which is to go back and forth, back and forth. sentimentExtraction.jpg

Universal search and integration of images, videos, verticals is quite good.

Key verticals supported so far are travel, commerce, and I think health…though have to check on that.

Advertising as a business model on the internet is less proven that conventional wisdom, says Steve, talking about new models of making money with search, including doing deals with content providers to integrate into Bing. This raises the spectre of paid inclusion, worth pushing into on that front…

We’re not trying to live off other people’s work….says Steve, dig at Google.

Yusuf leaves stage, Steve sits down with Walt again. Walt asks will this really change things? Steve says his timeframe is lots of years.

Google is market leader. But Bing has “real differentiators” that will bring new folks to the engine. Walt asks about Ask spending money on marketing but then dropping off after showing some share gain. Steve says they plan to stay in the game long term (in terms of supporting brand with spending), and keep it up. Steve says it was a big budget. He had to gulp when he approved the budget. A gulp at a $60billion company is a big gulp.

Distribution is key (they are buying distro, more on that later – see my post predicting Microsoft would gain share back in january).

Steve called it “the little engine that could.” Walt points out it’s a pretty big train….


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12 thoughts on “Liveblogging the Microsoft Search News

  1. mike says:

    I wonder what prompted them to go through all the motions of programming, branding and promoting a search engine… all over again. Boredom? It honestly irks me a bit whenever gigantic corps like Microsoft or Google venture into offbeat territory (Knol, Orkut, Zune come to mind), because they always do a halfa– job at them. I don’t mind their random fundraisers/contests to plaster their shameless plugs everywhere, but at least stick to what you’re good at!

  2. jmwallace74 says:

    Why didn’t they call it Bling? at least everyone knows what bling is.

  3. Google only looks that big to people who are bamboozled by outdated metrics based on number of queries performed.

  4. amp says:

    I truly wish them the best, and hope they pull some share from G.

    Still can’t figure out “Bing”. Crosby? Cherries? What was wrong with “Live”? Hopefully “bing” will resonate with me 6 months from now….

  5. tyler says:

    bing is the noise windows perpetually makes as it completes tasks. Makes sense that Microsoft would find a way to trademark and brand it.

  6. Brandon says:

    Bing looks pretty solid. I wish them all the best, but in the meantime I was driven to go visit this URL …

    http://www.goglogo.com/s.asp?lo=Bing

  7. Chrystal K. says:

    I’m actually kind of excited to see what transpires with this. I recently read an interview with Qi Lu as well as the info page on the Bing website.

    I can’t wait to see the outcome…I love innovation!

  8. Like Chrystal, I am pretty excited to seeing what all Bing has to offer and how well it is implemented. I am still a little worried, however, that people will still use the sites they are used to for things. For example, if I want to check a price or order something, strait to Amazon I go. It is now just habit. Hopefully this will change things, though.

  9. i want to starting bing …

    thank you screen shots.

  10. dış cephe says:

    Bing looks pretty solid…

  11. Caig Scott says:

    BING?

    Why not just build into the existing brands and promote the new features…

    It boggles my mind that MS can have their search option available on so many browsers as a search option and still not get a decent slice of the action.

    After Vista and Office 2007 this one better be good.