Microsoft Web

Download Free Music On Bing With Holiday Song Giveaway

Looking for some free giveaway this new year? Bing is now offering a free music download to every user who will enter their email address on their new Holiday Season Giveaway page. The offer is restricted to the first 500,000 users who will enter the program and every signed in user will be eligible to download one music from Amazon (at a maximum price of $1.29). Of course, you will need an Amazon account to redeem your gift coupon.

The offer is expected to expire by December 31 and winners are expected to redeem their gifts by the 24th of next month. Do note that the offer is only available to American users.

In case you are wondering if there is a catch in this entire offer, well there is. The giveaway page notes,

“By providing your email address you agree to receive future communications about Bing, including the Bing newsletter. The newsletter gives you tips & tricks plus news about all the great features and programs Bing has to offer. You can unsubscribe at any time.”

So there you go. In case you are someone who doesn’t like receiving newsletters, this offer may not be for you.

Facebook Google Microsoft

New Microsoft Bing Social Gaming Platform In The Making

Software giant Microsoft could well become the first company to have social games running on their search engine. Their search engine Bing would soon be hosting the social game “Happy Island” and from doing this the company thinks that it will be proving its innovative talent in the sector.

The company apparently came up with the idea to incorporate social games on their search engine when their biggest rival Google came up with a fully fledged application and gaming store for its Google Chrome OS. Speaking about the launch, Parri Munsell, executive producer of Gaming on Bing has said,

“We believe this launch brings several important innovations to the social gaming industry, starting with the ability to experience great gameplay before being required to sign in,”

As per Microsoft’s press release there is a 100 percent possibility of other games like “Zuma`s Revenge” and “Bubble Town” to making in into the search engine soon. As for “Happy Island”, the game already has its presence on Facebook, iPhone and Android devices.

Google Web

Google Wins Patent To Display Thumbnails Beside Results

Google has been awarded a patent for search engines to display “visual cues” alongside results that the engine deems relevant. In the patent application, filed way back in 2003, the company has noted that their search engine algorithm may determine the relevancy of particular results based on their click-through rates besides several other parameters and may choose to display a visual cue – a thumbnail – beside the result in order to make it easier for the user to find the particular result.

Google has elaborated on the application using an example search for “Stanford“. The result page, shown below, displays a thumbnail of the website beside the link and notes this as a visual cue. The patent is however not specific to website screenshots and could hence possibly include other forms of visual cues like images, logos,etc.

Google thumbnail patent

Depending on how this is interpreted, Bing could be at risk here. Like Google, Bing too makes use of images alongside results for certain results. Here is an example screenshot of search results for “PGA Tour” on Bing as well as Google.

Google thumbnail patentGoogle Thumbnail patent

Of course, one may argue that the logo in this case is displayed alongside the realtime results and not against the PGA website. But then, this is a grey area that can still be debated. What do you think? Has Google got one more patent to potentially sue Microsoft?

Microsoft Web Yahoo

Yahoo Search Marketing Transition To Microsoft adCenter Complete

It has taken a long time for Yahoo to completely outsource their search engine and marketing efforts from their in-house team to Microsoft’s Bing team. Nevertheless, it is now learned that the transition is complete. Moving on, all the search results as well as the associated advertisements on the Yahoo portal and partner websites will be handled by Microsoft. An email was sent to Yahoo advertisers announcing them of this development.

Yahoo Bing Integration

The partnership brings a significant level of benefit to both the companies. The total search engine share of Bing and Yahoo combined in the US is close to 30% and this partnership will bring better competition from advertisers and consequently higher ad dollars.

What does this mean to the existing Yahoo advertisers? The company has noted that the search marketing solutions page will be accessible for the next five months during which the advertisers are expected to effect a complete transition to the Microsoft adCenter. Advertisers may no longer use the Yahoo interface to run campaigns.

Microsoft Web

Bing Rewards – Get Paid To Search Program Rolls Out

If you have been on the internet for long, I’m sure you may have stumbled upon one of those sneaky websites that promise to pay you peanuts for simply searching (and possibly clicking on ads?). Now, this business of incentivizing people with cash rewards for searching just got a legitimate turn with the new Bing Rewards program. Microsoft’s latest venture is to push people into searching more on Bing by offering them credits; call it a loyalty program of sorts like you see in airlines, for merely using the search engine service. Microsoft says that users accumulate these credits over time to win for themselves something pretty nice.

But a catch here. To start accumulating these credits, users must make these Bing searches from an Internet explorer running on a Windows computer. And yes, you will need to install a Bing bar on the browser and sign into it using a Live ID. Not too many people are going to go the length I’m sure. But it will be interesting to see how many new loyal users Microsoft can make with this latest move.

So how much can you make for your searches? SearchEngineLand writes,

Until October 2, you can earn one credit for every five Bing searches, and up to eight credits per day. According to that schedule It would take just under a year to qualify for a Scrabble game (8 credits per day X 358 days = 2866 credits).

That’s the hardest you will ever work to enjoy a game of scrabble..

Google Microsoft Web

Google Vs. Bing Could Be Interesting With New HTML5 Interface

Google launched its new Instant search interface this week that will see the company integrating its home page and search results page in such a way that typing keywords shall fetch results much quicker than ever before. Quite evidently, this has received a lot of rave reviews from a wide spectrum of users. However, it is not just Google that is looking at revamping the search engine interface that has been pretty much static over the past decade. Microsoft’s Bing too has been experimenting with newer interfaces – just that it has not received widespread publicity as it should have.

Earlier this year, during Apple’s WWDC conference, Microsoft demoed a new version of its Bing search engine where it has made a beautiful use of HTML5 to bring a very dynamic search engine experience. Unlike the existing interface, the new interface will make seamless transition between the various search engine sections like Web, Image, Weather, Maps, etc. The new Bing interface is expected to be launched by first quarter of next year. Check out the video below for a demo of the new Bing.

Microsoft Web

Calculate Cab Fare With Bing Maps

Microsoft may not have entirely succeeded in usurping the search engine market share from Google, but they sure have been bringing some really nifty applications to the Bing Maps application. The latest is a Bing app that will let users calculate cab fares between any two locations in a particular city.

The application has been developed by Ricky Brundritt as his submission for the King of Bing Maps competition. The app takes note of the starting point, destination, pick-up time besides factors like the shortest route before calculating the cab fare.

The King of Bing Maps competition has seen several innovative uses of Bing Maps being put to use. The final winner of this competition is likely to be announced on August 20 by a panel that includes CNET’s Josh Lowensohn, Search Engine Land’s Greg Sterling and Directions’ Joe Francica.

The Cab Fare calculator is now accessible for users visiting the Bing Maps website.

Microsoft Mobile

Microsoft Bing Android App Launching Soon?

The World’s biggest decision engine could be coming to Android soon. Microsoft is rumored to be working on Android app for their year old Bing search engine. Of course, Android smartphone users already have access to the Bing website from their mobile internet browsers. But considering that an app-based product will make searching via mobile phone easy, there is little wonder that Microsoft is working on such a product.

These speculations have come from Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine summit at San Francisco. Apart from the Bing Android app, Microsoft is also learned to be developing new mapping features and a TV listings application as well. No elaborate information was available on any of these products.

However, the word is that these products are already in the testing phase and an official launch is just around the corner.

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Online Music – Apple Vs. Google Vs. Microsoft

Entertainment, it seems, is the next big area where the biggest of the technology giants shall be competing. Apple has, for a long time, enjoyed virtual monopoly in this segment with its iTunes service. However, that may not stay for a long time as we see Microsoft and Google gearing themselves up for the clash.

The modus operandi may not be the same for all the three companies, but we can say that all the three different strategies might work and time will tell how each of these companies will perform.

Apple’s iTunes needs no introduction. While Microsoft Zune may be an also-ran, the company’s latest announcement to launch an Bing entertainment service that will integrate the company’s search engine offering with its Zune music offering.

So, for instance, searching for “Songs by Lady Gaga” will show you this.

Bing Music Search

Quite clearly, the focus is on getting the users engage with content right on the website and go ahead and purchase the same from Zune. Bing enjoys integration with lyrics and music from a catalog of over 5 million songs. With a majority of users going online to look for music lyrics and purchases, this is definitely a market to tap.

Google did make some moves late last year with its Music OneBox (in association with Lala), but did not go much beyond. However, the company has made its intention clear to offer a full fledged music service soon. According to Scott Morrison from the Wall Street Journal, the company could be launching a music download service that is tied to the search engine later this year followed by an online subscription service in 2011. These are not lofty plans considering that rivals have already begun their implementation.

However, Microsoft can still go for the kill now. The company has at least a couple of months to position their search service as the destination to go for online music. If Bing does succeed in pulling online music seekers, then expect three major destinations for online music by the mid of next year.

A lot of consolidation may happen thereafter with startup services like Spotify in the fray too.

[via WSJ, Bing Blog]

ecommerce Microsoft

Bing Cashback To Be Replaced By Amazon Shopping?

Microsoft had recently announced that the company shall be wrapping up its Bing Cashback program come July 30 this year. The Cashback program incentivized Bing users for shopping at the site by offering cash rewards. With Bing closing down its shopping site, rumors are now doing the rounds that Bing may soon outsource its shopping link to Amazon.

Ever since the announcement of Bing Cashback hit the news, we have heard that Amazon has been aggressively pursuing Microsoft to outsource the shopping tab to Amazon and in return earn a commission on sales carried out through their referrals.

Talks are said to be in early stages and there is no way to confirm the speculations. Nevertheless, this appears to be not just a logical step, but also a masterful one at that, given that Google has been slowly building its relationship with retailers and subsequently their ecommerce function. We had reported recently that Google is testing a CPA ad model with select retailers that will allow advertisers to pay for select action and not just an ad-click.

The ecommerce scene is beginning to heat up once again. It’s sad however that eBay continues to be elusive in the headlines.

[via Business Insider]