Microsoft' s broader record in
social-networking integration is a bit
more mixed. In October, Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, who had
championed the integration of cloud
and social networking into Microsoft' s product portfolio, resigned.
However, the company incubator
he started, FUSE Labs, continues
to work on initiatives such as Docs.
com, which allows Facebook users
to create and share Word, Excel and
PowerPoint documents with .PDF
support and full-text search.
But social networking brings privacy
concerns. ª W e have to separate the
social from the personal,º said Weitz.
A good portion of Bing' s social integration is anonymous: An example
involves the massive reams of Twitter
data used to tailor individual users'
searches, as seen in Bing' s Matchbox
technology. However, Weitz claimed
that Microsoft has pulled back from
some potential Bing features that are
capable of more deeply leveraging
The second layer, geospatial data,
represents the Web' s attempts to give
the real world what Weitz termed
ªfu ll representation digitally on the
Web.º In theory, that means leveraging the Web's information to create
expansively detailed portraits of a
particular place or object.
For example, Bing uses data from
Yelp and other sources to offer up a
specific restaurant when a user types
in the search terms ªb ar,º ªFla tiron
District,º ª basementº and ª private
room.º That layer can help refine
and direct user searches in ways not
possibleÐ or at least difficultÐ in
the pages-of-hyperlinks paradigm.
The third layer is the Web's
increased focus on robust services,
such as booking flights or secur-
ing local deals. Bing' s traditional
focus has been on verticals, such as
travel, and newer initiatives, such as
a ª Dealsº tab that lets mobile users
access daily discounts in their par-
That additional focus on booking
and services, said Weitz, helps prod
the Internet from its previous state
as a ª Web of nounsº to a more active
ª Web of verbs.º This enables users
to more effectively do things in the
However, translating those layers
into greater market share for Bing
will require users breaking some
deeply rooted habits for using the
Web. ª We' re still fighting the tyr-
anny of nouns, as it were,º Weitz
Microsoft bets that at least some
of that breakage will come with
the natural evolution of the Web
and people' s interactions with it.
The company claims its own data
shows that younger users (that is,
those younger than 34 years old)
have grown up with an increased
visual acuity and the ability to absorb
incredible amounts of information
in relatively little time. In theory,
this makes them naturally receptive
to Bing' s plethora of active, evolving
Bing's ever-growing collection of
tabs and features helps differentiate
it further from Google, whose search
engine has never strayed very far
from the stripped-down, minimalist
aesthetic that helped distinguish it
from early, overcrowded Web portals
like Yahoo. In that differentiation
between the two comes Microsoft's
strategy for evolving Bing from also-
ran to major contender.
ª We see the Web going in this
direction,º Weitz added. ª It' s a long
game.º And, evidently, an evolving
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Bing' s ever-growing collection of tabs and features helps differentiate it from Google.