Microsoft is expanding its audience polling tool Bing Pulse today — Josh Gottheimer, general manager of corporate strategy, told me that it’s moving from a model of one-off partnerships to self-service. So basically anyone can now use Bing Pulse at their events and meetings.
While there are a number of polling and visualizing products out there, Gottheimer said this is really the modern version of those research tools where audience members are asked to turn a dial to show how they’re feeling. It’s not just about conducting a single poll, but rather tracking how people are feeling throughout an event.
For example, Fox News used the tool to follow audience responses during the State of the Union, while the Clinton Global Initiative used it to gauge how attendees felt during two sessions that were part of its conference over the summer.
Gottheimer said people can now do something similar at individual meetings — you point attendees to a URL that they can access on their phone, tablet, or desktop/laptop computer, then they continually update you on how the meeting is going. Or you can send out specific questions, like, “How is Josh doing in his presentation?” You can track that information just for yourself, or display it on a giant screen, whichever you prefer.
He also argued that Bing Pulse won’t distract people from the meeting or the show or whatever it is they’re being asked about — participants, he said, are “paying more attention to what’s in front of them,” because the polling urges them to be “reacting and listening to what people are saying.”
Bing Pulse is still in beta testing and will be available for free until January 31, 2015. Gottheimer said the plan is to move to a freemium model, where a basic version is available for free, but customers have to pay for additional usage or features.