By Ron Grattopp ronaldg-001_thumb2_thumb_thumb1_thum….OK, maybe you didn’t pick up on my subtle reference to the Buzz Lightyear’s Toy Story line ”to infinity, and beyond” so the title of this post may seem a little strange to you, but if you thought Bing was just a “to search” engine, then hopefully you’ll read on and find out how much more there is to Bing than just search.

There’ve been several other posts about this lately, that I recommend you read, so let me point you to them now:

Bing as a platform new Microsoft approach to search

How Microsoft's Bing-related research is funneling back into products

Microsoft’s next chapter: Putting Bing tech inside our homes and data centers

Of course, we’ve touted Bing from the beginning as a “decision engine” vs a simple search engine, to highlight the fact that there’s technology behind it that’s designed to provide access to all forms of web data thus making it a much more efficient and effective vehicle to answer search queries than other web-URL/text-focused search engines would provide.  Note that the 3rd article above references the use of Bing technology not just on your desktop or device but also in home and even data center scenarios. Also, by now you should be familiar with the fact that I see Microsoft Research as a significant business value message for you to use in your customer conversations.  So this is an extension of both of those thoughts.  Dr. Qi Lu, President of Microsoft Online Services, formerly of Yahoo so he has a long history in this space, leads our company's search and online advertising efforts and oversees the OSD R&D team which has responsibility for the evolution of Microsoft's search, portal and advertising services.  In a recent tech forum he revealed that: "A massive transformation of search as a product is playing out in very profound ways…we're converting the Bing technology stack into an information platform" which means Bing is, and will be, being used in devices and other services, in other words, the technology itself is heading beyond the realm of desktop/device browser-based search engines.  We already see this with voice-based queries on the Windows Phone, but with technology like XBOX/Kinect this can move into motion and other “natural UI” functionality.  And, you’ll see even deeper integration with the Windows OS and other product technologies like XBOX, Office, and other business software.  Mary Jo Foley’s article (#2 above) lists some of the Bing-related Microsoft Research projects that have moved to Microsoft's product groups in just the past two years.  I’ll say it again, our Microsoft Research is a huge business value proposition for Microsoft over other OS and app vendors out there.  Applied research is where real innovation comes from and that’s what going to keep our technology in the forefront; Windows is the only OS that’s made any significant advancement in UI, and I remember demonstrating voice recognition (for searching AD) in our Unified Messaging solution back in 2007.  Besides MJ’s post, I also recommend the 3rd article above as a must read as it has some really good info not brought out in the other two, such as the fact that no one else can provide potential integration between: a top-tier web service business (complete with the hundreds of petabytes of data those services collect), as well as a top-tier enterprise software business, not to mention a leading consumer software business, 30 percent of the world’s long-distance calls, a mobile device business, one of the world’s most popular gaming platforms, a large-screen touch-display business, and a motion-sensing device that ties into — and can control — all of them. Think about it, or, better yet, tell your customers about it.

Cheers,
Ron