Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

More Change at Microsoft's Bing, as It Goes Deep Into Entertainment

Microsoft is rolling out a new series of updates to its Bing search service tonight, including a deep dive into a media-rich entertainment vertical, as well as other improvements to its existing offerings.

The software company has been pushing hard in the search arena, trying to gain market share from the dominant Google (GOOG) and the No. 2 player, Yahoo (YHOO).

The effort has so far included a different look and feel and very detailed results in certain niches, such as travel and health.

The push to improve entertainment search is a natural one, given its popularity with consumers.

For example, Microsoft (MSFT) will now allow users to listen to entire songs from its 6.8 million-song catalog rather than just samples of the songs.

It will also offer lyrics and more detailed artist profiles, as well as loads of movie and television information.

“We want to be one of the two major players in search and we are building out to do that,” said Yusuf Mehdi, SVP of Microsoft’s Online Audience Business. “The economic opportunity of search is as good as it gets in the business, if we can make these inroads.”

Those inroads have been encouraging, with Bing gaining market share. But they have also been costly, with the Online Services division bleeding cash.

Of course, search is an area Microsoft cannot abandon, so I would imagine the push will continue.

That’s good for consumers, of course, and it sure is pretty.

But seeing is better than a BoomTown description–here are some entertainment-focused screenshots (click to enlarge, except for music and movies homepages), and below them, the official fact sheet:

Music Homepage:

Music/Lady Gaga Songs:

Movies Homepage:

Movies/Visual Search:

TV/”Gossip Girl”:

Games/”Bubble Town”:

Bing Spring Update Fact Sheet

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work