Posted March 25, 2010 10:31 am by with 1 comment

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We haven’t heard much from bing as of late so it makes sense that they would use SES NYC to make a few announcements about their Google slaying search engine bing. Of course, it would be a little more interesting if there were announcements of actual product enhancements rather than the following from the bing blog:

Today at SES New York we shared with attendees our plans to begin testing some new Bing features as we start to move into the next wave of innovation which will be rolling out later this spring and summer.

Our focus remains consistent – we want Bing to be the best place to help you make better decisions. When we launched last June, one of the ways we helped customers get to better decisions was by providing a more visual, more intuitive, and more organized experience. This spring we will continue this evolution by making some changes to our user experience and providing new experiences throughout search.

I think the search industry needs to have a very strong second player to Google and I wonder if bing will have the chops to pull this off. Google’s rate of search innovation is dizzying and they don’t “pre-roll” ideas too often. Instead, they put the ideas and concepts to work in Google Labs or slap an indefinite beta on them (after the usual backend testing unless we’re talking about Buzz). The announcement is made when the product / service is at least somewhat available and the people can have at it.

I don’t get that same feeling of urgency from bing and Microsoft. Maybe their time and energy is being sapped with the Yahoo integration or maybe this focus on the integration is taking away the creative minds that are needed to innovate at a more rapid pace? I don’t really know. I am just speculating here.

One thing I do know that is a marked difference with how bing and Google talk about their offerings. Google tries to keep it loose and somewhat conversational in their blogs while bing’s ‘excitement’ around their future product rollouts are about as inspiring as a clinical trial. Here is an example that is talking about these future new offerings.

But we are constantly looking for ways to make the experience even better. Jeff Henshaw, GPM of our user experience team put it well, “We have a vision for Bing to serve as a vital assistant to your online decision-making. In these latest designs, you’ll see a lighter, cleaner presentation of results that highlight key actions that will efficiently guide you toward your goal. Every day, Bing gets more intelligent about tasks that are important to people like you and me, so we continue to streamline and polish the Bing experience in ways that let you tap into that intelligence.”

This reads like a product manual (which Microsoft knows something about) rather than something that inspires the reader to get excited about any offering. While the weather may be wet at times out in Redmond the products appear to be very dry.

Oh, so what is being announced as bing enhancements for some future point in time?

  1. Moving QuickTabs functionality to the top of the page
  2. More link options to publications in support of real time search
  3. Taking real time data from foursquare and integrating it into Silverlight maps

Here’s a picture so at least you can get an idea of what will be happening in one of the upcoming seasons of the year.

As for today? Same stuff different day for bing.

Don’t worry though. There may be more announcements of something that will be rolled out at some time in the future when Microsoft deems the time to be right to let you play with their toys.

  • For people who want to see Foursquare content and data on a map, check out, a mash-up of Foursquare and the Google Maps API. It launched just before SXSW, and got an enthusiastic reception.