Info-tech

Microsoft bets big on Bing search engine

P. Jaishankar Chennai | Updated on August 08, 2013 Published on August 02, 2013

Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice-President, Information Platform & Experience team at Microsoft Corp.

We think of Bing as a strategic asset as evidenced by the deep integration across Microsoft assets, including Windows, Office, Windows Phone and Xbox.

At a time when players like Google has dominated the search business, technology major Microsoft is redefining its search engine Bing as a strategic asset to gain a market share.

Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice-President, Information Platform & Experience team at Microsoft Corp, tells Business Line how the company is creating the platform as an intelligent service.

Can you explain the technology changes, especially in online search, that you have seen in the last decade and how Bing will go in the next phase?

We recognise that search has to change. It isn’t enough to simply put the same search box on every device and form factor. People expect more and the devices, services and apps available today offer a lot of functionality that search can help people tap into. You will continue to see Bing build great search experiences and look beyond the search box to show what else is possible.

What innovations does Microsoft bring to Bing?

We think of Bing as a strategic asset as evidenced by the deep integration across Microsoft assets, including Windows, Office, Windows Phone and Xbox. For instance, in addition to the search experience that was just unveiled in Windows 8.1, earlier this year we revealed Bing Apps for Office that can be used within Office products such as Microsoft Word and Excel, where together we enable devices and services to let people interact with the world’s knowledge and their surrounding in a more human way. The work we are doing at Bing is helping drive success for Microsoft as a whole and we will continue to use the power of the Bing platform across the portfolio.

Bing also works closely with partners and developers outside of Microsoft that allow them to utilise search technology to deliver great experiences to their customers. For example, Facebook uses Bing for Graph Search and Apple just announced Siri would leverage Bing. We’ve offered application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development skills (SDKs) for several years and now we’re also delivering greatly expanded Bing Developer Services for app developers who are building for Windows and Windows Phone.

Google is growing leaps and bounds in terms of marketshare and innovation. How do you plan to make a breakthrough with Bing?

By creating a great consumer experience, Bing is continuing to make gains in the US, reaching 17.4 per cent explicit core search share in May, according to comScore. However, we see a bigger picture with search. It's about building systems that learn about us, the world around us, and help us better connect with and accomplish the things that we want to do. That's the mission we've been pursuing with Bing for the past few years, and we have done a lot of work to integrate Bing across Microsoft devices and services. For instance, you can use your voice to search your music and videos on Xbox, or you can locate the nearest fuel station on your Windows Phone. Our “Bing it On” campaign offers side-by-side search result comparisons and makes the point that people prefer Bing over Google for the Web’s top searches.

How big is the Microsoft app store and how many apps are contributed by Indian developers?

Windows platform is one of the fastest growing platforms. From 20,000 apps last August, there are now over 1.6 lakh apps available on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Apps momentum has been steady as the number of apps in the Windows Store increased 6x since launch, with over 250 million Store apps downloaded. There have been more than a million downloads of apps such as Twitter, Netflix, eBay and Amazon, which have all been updated at least once. We have more top apps coming to the platform - Temple Run Brave, Words with Friends and Vevo.

Comparatively, the 100 million app downloads we saw in the first two months surpassed those of Apple in the same timeframe after the iPad was launched, with 35 million downloads.

Owing to a large developer community in India (1.2 million) and their deep partnership with Windows, a large number of Windows apps are from India. In fact, India is the second-largest contributor to the Microsoft app ecosystem.

jaishankar.p@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 02, 2013
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