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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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October 21, 2009 12:11 PM

Find Facebook and Twitter updates on Microsoft Bing

Posted by Sharon Chan

Bing search results will feature Facebook and Twitter updates.

Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's Online Services division, announced the partnership with the two social media companies today at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. Microsoft also discussed it in the company's Bing blog.

The Twitter partnership, which you can try out here, will include Tweets that match search terms, allow users to rank them and filter out the most relevant Tweets.

Facebook updates that users have marked public will eventually also appear in Bing search results.

The announcement is significant in that Google does not have access to Facebook and Twitter updates right now. Google is dominant among search engines. Bing, which has about 10 percent of the market since Microsoft launched it in June, is in a distant third-place, and climbing slowly.

Update 4:10 p.m.: Turns out it's not an exclusive relationship. Google announced this afternoon on the company's blog that they too have a relationship with Twitter. That's just proof that people on Twitter will friend anyone.

Comments | Category: Bing |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 21, 2009 9:55 AM

Microsoft's Bing may score Facebook, Twitter partnership

Posted by Sharon Chan

AllThingsD is reporting that Microsoft is expected to announce two partnerships with social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

The deals would make Facebook and Twitter status updates searchable by Microsoft's search engine Bing, according to the report.

If Microsoft manages to score an exclusive deal, it would be a coup for Bing, which is trying to gain share against Google, the dominant search engine.

Kara Swisher at AllThingsD reported that the news could be announced at the Web 2.0 conference today. Microsoft will probably pay several million dollars to both companies, and share some of the revenue, the report said.

Comments | Category: Bing |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 15, 2009 5:05 PM

Microsoft files its first click fraud lawsuit

Posted by Sharon Chan

Microsoft is suing two brothers and their mother in Vancouver, B.C., for $750,000 after the company said the three engaged in online ad fraud to boost traffic to their auto insurance and World of Warcraft Web sites.

According to a civil case Microsoft filed Monday in the Western District of the U.S. District Court, Eric Lam, his brother Gordon Lam and their mother Melanie Suen used click fraud to increase their rankings on Microsoft's search engine Live Search.

Advertisers paid for placement on Microsoft's former search engine Live Search, now known as Bing. When a user entered a search term such as "auto insurance," advertisers bid for sponsored placement in the results. Each time a user clicks on an advertiser's link, the advertiser pays Microsoft. The cost per click ranges from five cents to hundreds of dollars depending on the desirability of the search term, according to court documents.

In click fraud, a person or computer program repeatedly clicks on a link without any interest in the Web site. It can be used to exhaust the ad budget of a competitor, and lower that site's placement in the rankings of the search results.

According to the court documents, the Lams and their mother engaged in click fraud in spring 2008 for advertisers who paid for placement for the search terms "auto insurance" and "WoW," short for the online game World of Warcraft. The Lams' Web site, WoWMine.com, sold game gold that could be traded in the online game.

I am trying to get in touch with the Lams to get their comments.

Update 6:35 p.m.: Gordon Lam declined to comment on the story by phone.

Comments | Category: Advertising , Bing , Legal issues , Microsoft , Search |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 15, 2009 2:34 PM

Microsoft news roundup: Bill Gates tie-less, cell phones cut, Google on Bing

Posted by Sharon Chan

Some bits and bytes on Microsoft from around the country:

New York Post says Google's co-founder Sergey Brin has a team of engineers dissecting Bing, Microsoft's newly upgraded search engine. Early data after Bing's launch at the beginning of June show that traffic numbers have improved for Microsoft's search operation.

MocoNews says Microsoft has stopped reimbursing employees for their BlackBerry and iPhone plans, unless they switch to a Windows Mobile device. We ran a New York Times story today on how even discretionary spending shrinks elsewhere, smartphone sales are projected to go up by 25 percent this year. And on the other end of the spectrum, here's another story we ran today about how the poor are using a federal government telecom subsidy for cell phones.

Seattle Examiner reports that Bill Gates shocked Cambridge when he showed up to receive an honorary degree without a tie. Which would make news only in England.

Comments | Category: Bill Gates , Bing , Employee benefits , Google , Microsoft , Mobile , News roundup , Windows Mobile |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 8, 2009 11:47 AM

Blind testing search from Microsoft, Google and Yahoo

Posted by Sharon Chan

Would a rose by any other name smell sweeter? blindsearchscreen.jpg

Silicon Valley Insider found this site over the weekend: BlindSearch. It compares search results in a blind test, then reveals which search engine the results came from: Microsoft's Bing, Google or Yahoo. The site says it was built by Microsoft employee Michael Kordahi as an experiment.

Kordahi previously posted the survey results but says on the site that someone was gaming the system and he had to take it down.

Microsoft rebranded its search engine as Bing last week, and many company executives kept repeating that in their market research, customers who were given Microsoft search results disguised as Google results preferred Microsoft search.

Try it yourself.

Comments | Category: Bing , Google , Microsoft , Search , Yahoo |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 4, 2009 6:02 PM

More Microsoft TV ads promoting its search engine Bing (update on an oops)

Posted by Sharon Chan

Here is the next round of TV commercials Microsoft is airing to make some headway in online search. The ads all criticize Google without actually naming the search leader, claiming that using Google's search engine results in an overload of results that don't get you the answer you want.

On a side note, our reliable Seattle Times copy desk caught an error in one of the ads, which I had quoted in a story, saying "The Breakfast Club" came out in 1986. According to all the searches our copy editors did, the film came out in 1985. (A search for "breakfast club release date" on Wolfram Alpha, Google and Bing all point to 1985.) I've called Microsoft to see if its plans to change the ad and it said they will get back to me.

Update Friday 12:36 p.m.: Microsoft says they are going to change the ad so it reflects the correct year, and highlighted that Bing returns the correct date in its search results.

Here is the ad that cites "The Breakfast Club":

And two other ads, which we have not fact-checked:


Comments | Category: Advertising , Bing , Microsoft , Search |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 3, 2009 12:40 PM

Microsoft's TV search ad: So You Think You Can Bing

Posted by Sharon Chan

If you're watching "So You Think You Can Dance" at 8 p.m. today, keep an eye out for Microsoft's first TV ads for its upgraded search engine Bing. (The company has dubbed it a "decision engine.") It will also air during "CSI: NY," the Jimmy Fallon show and on several cable networks.

News reports estimate that Microsoft is spending $80 million to $100 million on advertising to create a new search brand where it previously faltered with Live and MSN, The company has declined to comment on the ad budget.

The ad campaign highlights confusion that can spring from search results. Here's the video:

Comments | Category: Advertising , Bing , Microsoft , Search |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 3, 2009 9:52 AM

Microsoft's Qi Lu talks about Bing

Posted by Sharon Chan

bizqilu10.jpgUser intent, user intent, user intent.

That was the message Qi Lu, head of Microsoft's online division, brought to his keynote this morning at SMX Advanced, a search marketing conference at Bell Harbor Conference Center that started Tuesday.

The keynote began with a television commercial for Microsoft's upgraded search engine, Bing, which the company plans to air tonight. The ad jumps among several people asking search questions ("I want two tickets to paradise" is one.) in accelerating cuts that ends with the onscreen question, "What has search overload done to us?"

Lu then did a Q&A with Daniel Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land. Here are some excerpts of Lu's comments at the event:

On the development of Bing:
"Bing as a product took a very distinct differential approach. What we would like to offer is rich and more organized user experience so we enable users to complete tasks more efficiently and make more informed decisions faster."

On the future of search:
"if you have heavy R&D investment, if you have those infrastructure R&D, we will be able to model computationally user intent. The other important trend is the [shrinking] barrier for producing content. The Web gets richer and richer. It starts out with links, then there's images, now you have Facebook and Twitter. We're able to understand user intent very well over the next few years and Web gets richer and richer. You're able to build user experience that's vastly more compelling than today. While no one has a crystal ball on how future plays out, I firmly believe the best way to predict the future is to create one."

On the brand name "Bing":
"We have teams of experts going through very extensive processes looking at all the choices. We wanted something short, easy to pronounce, very easy to come up with URL. You want brand to be very accessible on the Internet. The brand also has to work well across the world."

On how Microsoft, which has 8 percent of the search market, will gain market share against Google, which has 62 percent, according to most recent rankings from comScore:
"We believe search is still relatively very nascent. There is a whole lot more that can be done. The search experience in next few years can be a lot more compelling. The second, ultimately, the real strengths you compete in search space has to be based on strength of product, quality of experience. ... Over time the best product will sell itself."

On status of talks between Microsoft and Yahoo on a search partnership:
"The best person to ask that question is [AllThingsD's blogger] Kara Swisher. Obviously I don't think I can say anything beyond what's out there. ... It won't be proper for me to speculate on what would happen, so I will just have to leave it to everybody's imagination what would happen."

(2008 Photo of Qi Lu: Marshall Miller/Microsoft)

Comments | Category: Bing , Microsoft , Search |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 1, 2009 5:06 PM

Look for Space Needle spotlight on Tuesday night

Posted by Sharon Chan

spaceneedle.JPGTo mark the launch of Microsoft's upgraded search engine Bing, the Space Needle will be sending a beam of light into the sky on Tuesday starting at 10 p.m. The company will also hoist a Microsoft Bing flag atop the needle.

While the preview of the Bing began today at www.bing.com, the company will wrap up some back-end engineering work, invisible to most users, and officially launch the search engine on Wednesday.

According to Advertising Age, Microsoft plans to spend $80 million to $100 million to market Bing. Executives have acknowledged that a poor consumer brand dogged its previous search efforts, branded Live Search. In April, Microsoft accounted for 8 percent of all share traffic, compared to Google's share of 64 percent, according to comScore.

(Photo credit: Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Comments | Category: Bing , Microsoft , Search |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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