We’re here at Microsoft’s San Francisco headquarters so they can show off what they’re calling the “Bing Fall Release.” Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s Senior Vice President of the Online Services Division is leading this presentation.
Today’s talk saw Microsoft focus on three key areas: Core search, mobile search, and their mapping. As you’d expect, Bing is pushing forward with regular search and mobile search, both with improvements in the core search functionality but also adding new ideas.
In terms of new ideas, the emphasis today was on Entity Cards and Task Pages. For example, when you do a search for a famous person on Bing now, you’ll see their official picture and a link to their official website front and center in their Entity Card. And if that person is a famous musician there may be a link to click on to get your concert information. This would be a Task Page. In that regard, Microsoft says it’s going to opposite way of Google and keeping people on Bing for a number of clicks to get information. Google’s stance is to get people to the information they want in one click (presumably away from Google).
Another key new thing only previewed today is the way Bing with integrate Facebook and Twitter data (which Microsoft recently reached deals to get both). Aside from simply importing tweets and status updates in search results as you might expect, Microsoft is going to take a visual approach to showing that data as well. You could click on a Facebook users’s picture and get more information about them in the right hand column, for example. They’re still working on this, but it should be done soon.
The most interesting aspect of today’s presentation was the things Microsoft is working on with Bing Maps. Their new Bing Maps Beta product is making it very clear where Microsoft is heading: A web powered by Silverlight. The new Maps product is visually very impressive, but it does require Silverlight, which of course, Microsoft is in charge of (but offers plug-ins for many browsers, including Safari on the Mac).
There were many questions as to why Microsoft simply wouldn’t use AJAX like Google and others use for Maps? Microsoft’s stance is that while they’re not trying to spread their own “stack” (their own technologies), they are going to use what they think are the best — in this case, Silverlight.
Microsoft also showed off a new Bing Maps app directory, with some cool new tools such as newspaper front page viewer, and a tweet on a map viewer using Twitter’s new geolocation API.
Below find my live notes (paraphrased):
SN: How we’re going to spend the next hour and a half or so is some knowledge and insight about what we’ve learned to far with Bing. Most of the time we’ll spend showing you new stuff though. It’s about the core search, the mobile effort, and our mapping.
Derek Connell doing a demo of these new interaction elements.
Nadella is back.
David Raissipour who leads the mobile search team for Bing.
Nadella back again
Blaise (no last name given) who leads up the mapping efforts for Bing
Ryan Sarver, head of Platform for Twitter, to demo a new app
Back to Blaise
Nadella is back
————- Q&A Time ——————-
Q: College data – how automated is that?
A: We need to make sure bad data doesn’t come across but we’re not doing human curation. Structured data is very important to this going forward. We’re not trying to employ editors and be a portal, we just look at the structured data – and a set of partners.
Q: Are the structured pages indexable?
A: We will allow others to index, but it’s a question about reindexing search content (so that sounds like “no”)
Q: Will Bing Maps 3D be replaced? How many cities is this in?
A: We have about 100 cities right now for this “human scale” experience. And more coming monthly. Over 100 terabytes of data over the past few months we’ve averaged posting to the web. In terms of the 3D product – the Silverlight piece is the best of all worlds.
Q: We part does non-Google content (so your exclusive content) play in this?
A: The focus we have is not as much on non-Google content – it’s more on query intent and task completion. We’re not so focused on exclusive content – it’s just about the content that’s best for reference for what we’re doing. We have partnerships obviously – like the Mayo clinic, but that’s not exclusive.
A: We’re not like Google where they’re trying to drive people off their site necessarily – the second or third click may be on our site in these cards, we think.
Q: So the News Corp-exclusive thing – not true?
A: I’m not going to speculate on speculation about that.
Q: About the openness of the whole platform. Is there a partner program for the cards, for example? And what about Silverlight – why use your technologies, why not use regular standard web tech?
A: We want to get to a third-party scale model. We want to build an ecosystem and get it going. The Maps mash-ins are just the beginning – this will move to regular web searches too. But are we trying to reinforce a Microsoft stack message? That’s not our intent. We’re trying to use the best technology we have. But we’re looking for feedback on this.
A: Silverlight is cross-platform remember, that’s important to us. And it’s a great development environment. There are many levels of openness in that stack. AJAX today is not supporting a lot of these nice transitions that you saw.
A: Silverlight is in the spirit of empowerment, not lock-in. You can just do a lot of stuff with this.
Q: Can you comment in general terms about Microsoft’s relationship with the publishers (like News Corp)? Would you pay them to de-index from Google?
A: Our focus is to take advantage of all content that’s available (non-answer). And we’ll have different business models for the publishers. But there’s no focus to de-index content from Google. At the end of the day users will decide.
Q: So you’re ruling out paying for de-indexing from Google?
A: I won’t speculate on things in the future.
Q: Why now for Streetside? Could have been sooner – how much did you spend?
A: We had early previews a while ago for Streetside, but it was different as just the ‘birds-eye’ view. Now we came up with the new human-scale with the 3D feel. This is a huge project underway to get more cities. We made the sensors at are on the vehicles capturing this data.
Q: What’s global market share? And monetization, how’s that doing?
A: Monetization progress has been keeping in-step. Even though we have a smaller share than some, our audience is being monetized well. Even as we’re growing that has kept pace. In terms of global share, not sure about the numbers, but we just did a launch in the UK. A lot of our gains in share are in the U.S. but other places too like Canada.
Q: How is the Yahoo thing going?
A: We’re waiting for the deal to close obviously. Nothing new to announce, but we remain positive that the deal will gain approval. Yahoo wants to remain a key player in the [search] experience – and we’ll help them with that. They have their own experience, but the core engine behind Bing will be available to Yahoo.
Q: In Europe, when will there be a bigger push to close on Google?
A: The UK is a start, but we’ve been increasing staff in all of Europe for this. It’s going well in the UK so far. And then we’ll expand.
Q: Will Yahoo have access to streetside imagery to make their own version of it?
A: That deal is most about the search deal, but yeah they can get that data.
———– That’s a wrap —————–