Zach Miners of PC World reports, “Bing now supports searches with emoji, meaning you can insert or paste a range of emoji icons like hearts, smiley faces, food graphics, or any combination thereof, for some interesting, though not always useful, results. It’s a novelty feature, yes, but still fun. And one that could help Bing draw at least some attention away from Google. Google at the moment does not give results for emoji searches, though its auto-complete technology does recognize them. Yahoo, meanwhile, does support emoji searches. Bing’s tool is available in all English markets, the search engine said, offered as an homage to the shorthand’s popularity.” Read more
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Matt McGee of Search Engine Land reports, “While SEOs debate Google’s recent addition of structured data in its search results, Bing is making a similar — and perhaps more significant — change to its search results: Full song lyrics are now showing on Bing’s search results page in the US, and Bing says it plans to expand this outside the US in a matter of months. Bing says this is available now for more than 500,000 songs and more will be added. If you want to see it in action, Bing gives the example of In The End by Linkin Park. You can also see Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven,Roar by Katy Perry and so forth.” Read more
Have you wanted to get involved in the schema.org project? Your contribution to the collaborative effort driven by Bing, Google, Yahoo and Yandex for a shared markup vocabulary for web pages is more than welcome. As Dan Brickley, who is developer advocate at Google, noted during his presentation about schema.org’s progress to date at this summer’s Semantic Technology & Business Conference, the “pattern of collaboration with the project [is] we’re trying to push work off on people who are better qualified to do it, and then we mush it all together.”
What is meant by that is that the project is so broad, covering such a huge amount of topics, that the input of experts – whether from the library, media, sports or any other of the multitude of communities whose vocabularies are or aim to be represented – is incredibly valuable, and very much encouraged. In an overview of the 2013-2014 releases, which included TV/radio, civic services, and bibliographic additions, as well as accessibility properties, among others, Brickley related that during the year, “We listened a lot. We listened to people who knew better than us about accessibility, about how broadcast TV and radio are described, about describing social services, about libraries, journals, and ecommerce, and then integrated their suggestions into a unified set of schemas.”
Mark Albertson of the Examiner recently wrote, “It was an unusual sight to be sure. Standing on a convention center stage together were computer engineers from the four largest search providers in the world (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, and Yandex). Normally, this group couldn’t even agree on where to go for dinner, but this week in San Jose, California they were united by a common cause: the Semantic Web… At the Semantic Technology and Business Conference is San Jose this week, researchers from around the world gathered to discuss how far they have come and the mountain of work still ahead of them.” Read more
These vistas will be explored in a session hosted by Kevin Ford, digital project coordinator at the Library of Congress at next week’s Semantic Technology & Business conference in San Jose. The door is being opened by the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) that the LOC launched a few years ago. Libraries will be moving from the MARC standards, their lingua franca for representing and communicating bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form, to BIBFRAME, which models bibliographic data in RDF using semantic technologies.
Amy Gesenhues of Search Engine Land reports, “To celebrate its 5th birthday today, Bing has posted a retrospective of the last five years and is offering Bing Reward credit perks for any users who search on the site between now and June 9. Going all the way back to 2009, Microsoft’s search engine outlined its initial goals of leveraging semantic search. Bing noted how it introduced specific verticals (“like Health and Travel”), and offered “left rail categories” to help users drill down into the information they wanted: ‘Searching for Chicago would show you both categories for the city and the band, and only return results that made sense for that category. Later in the year, we built additional vertical experiences that cleanly segregated the mass of web content into understandable and logical experiences, like TV entertainment, Shopping, electronics, and more’.” Read more
Derrick Harris of GigaOM recently wrote, “With all the money being spent on, and all the futuristic talk about about big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and all things in between, it’s easy to forget that Microsoft and Google — two of the companies leading research in these technologies — still have large businesses in web search. So as cool and potentially life-altering as AI might be in fields such as medicine, we’ll probably continue to see the signs of things to come in search engines first. It’s big business and a great testing ground. Take, for example, Microsoft Bing’s new predictions feature that tries to predict the outcomes of popular fan-voting show such as The Voice, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Bing does this by analyzing a number of signals, including searches, Twitter and Facebook data, and, presumably the outcomes of previous episodes.” Read more
As The Semantic Web Blog discussed yesterday here, the Virtual Personal Assistant is getting more personal. Microsoft officially unveiled Cortana as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone software at its Build event yesterday, and the service effectively replaces the search function on Windows smartphones, both for the Internet and locally.
This statement served as the theme from corporate vice president and manager Joe Belfiore: “Cortana is the first truly personal digital assistant who learns about me and about the things that matter to me most and the people that matter to me most, that understands the Internet and is great at helping me get things done.”
The Bing-powered Cortana is launching in beta mode, and was still subject to a few hiccups during the presentation. For example, when Belfiore asked Cortana to give him the weather in Las Vegas, it reported the information in degrees, and was able to respond to his request to provide the same information in Celsius. But he couldn’t get her to make the calculations to Kelvin. But, he promised attendees, “Try it yourself because she is smart enough to tell you the answer in Kelvin.”
Microsoft – as you’ve no doubt heard by now – has a new CEO. Satya Nadella most recently was Microsoft’s executive VP, cloud and enterprise group. But before that, the man who succeeds Steve Ballmer, he was senior vp, R&D, of online services and before that, the senior vp of search, portal and advertising group. Nadella has been at the company since 1992.
The man who succeeds Steve Ballmer has been referred to as the King of Bing, rebranding the search service from Live Search to Bing and getting kudos for making technical fixes. Announcing his promotion to president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business in 2011, Ballmer wrote in a memo that Nadella “led the overall R&D efforts for some of the largest online services and drove the technical vision and strategy for several important milestones, including the critical launch of Bing, new releases of MSN, Yahoo! integration across Bing and adCenter, and much more.”
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