Ready, aim, SPEND! That's the approach Microsoft is planning for Bing, its new search engine, Advertising Agereports. How much coin is Redmond prepared to spend to market Bing (previously code-named Kumo)? Somewhere is the $80-100 million range, Ad Age says, compared to Google's non-recruitment ad spending in 2008 of around $13 million. But, can spending 6-8 times as much as Google give Bing the jump it needs?
Microsoft's ad push (helmed by ad-agency powerhouse JWT) will not, unlike the recent anti-Apple campaign, mention Microsoft's search rivals - instead, the planned ads will ask consumers if search works as well as they'd like.
How about the product itself?
People who've seen the Microsoft product suggest it's useful and has some nifty filtering tools, even though it's not a markedly different-looking interface, at least for text search (some of the multimedia search results, however, do look quite different from how Google currently displays them).
When will Bing shove aside Live Search? The Register says "June," and also suggests keeping an eye on the D: All Things Digital conference this week for more details.
Trying to describe Microsoft's Windows Live family of web-enabled tools for Windows has been a bit like the parable of the blind men describing the elephant.
Is Windows Live a photo sharing service? A file sharing service? An email service? An IM service? With the news that Windows Live is adding connections next week to many other popular Web 2.0 social networks, it's easier now to say, as ArsTechnica puts it, that Microsoft wants to:
[T]urn Windows Live into the average netcitizen's main hub for his or her social life, or at the very least to turn Windows Live into a social network.
Microsoft's teaming up with lots of social-networking partners around the world. US-based companies becoming BFFs with Windows Live include MSN, Digg, Facebook, SmugMug, and MySpace (see the full list of 31 current and new partners here).
If you are a website developer, you know how frustrating it is to get the appropriate content indexed on your website. You want your website indexed, but you do not want a certain page indexed. As a site owner, you want to control the content that is indexed on search engines. For example, you do not want your boss to find a description of what you do during the day in the office. On the other hand, you could have made a devastating mistake on the creation of your website and do not want people to see the mistake page.
The economy might be down, but Microsoft's betting a lot of your technology-challenged friends and relatives still bought or received new PCs this Christmas. Want to give them a helping hand - and give yourself more free time to get back to your favorite deathmatch or chat session? Tell them to surf over to Microsoft's new Windows Guides website and download - or email - some help.
Redmond has put together a nice assortment of simple guides for various chunks of the Windows Vista computing universe. Whether your family and friends have questions about Windows Media Center, gaming, working on the go, PC and family security, photo editing and sharing, or just getting started with the Windows desktop, adding new hardware, networking, printing, or getting remote assistance, there's a guide for them.
At tonight's CES Microsoft keynote speech, Steve Ballmer talked a lot about the shape of things to come in the Windows community. Fortunately, he also made a couple announcements that are about the here and now. One such announcement was that Windows Live Essentials, a suite of free, fundamental communications software for Windows is out of beta.
The suite includes Messenger, an email utility, photo management software, and Writer, a blogging program. Movie Maker is also available for free, though it is technically still a beta release. The programs can be downloaded for free here (although something tells us most of our Maximum PC readers already have favorite programs that accomplish the Essential tasks), and will come pre-installed on most Dell PCs.
Additionally, Windows Live Essentials can integrate with certain "web activities" such as Facebook, allowing you to synchronize data on those services with data on your home computer.
So, what does everyone think of Windows Live Essentials? Is this the start of a iLife-esque unified Windows experience, or is it not enough? Hit the break and leave us a comment.
Ask three people what "Windows Live" is - and you might get more than three answers: "It's a social network" (Windows Live Spaces); "a photo organizing service" (Windows Live Photo Gallery); "an email client" (Windows Live Hotmail)...but no matter how many answers you get, you probably won't hear "a major search provider". Yes, despite Microsoft's lavishing of money, time, attention, and even offering cash back for searches, Windows Live Search is not a major contender in the search space currently dominated by Google and Yahoo.
Would a name change help? TechCrunch claims that a rebranding of Live Search as Kumo (Japanese for "cloud" or "spider") may be on tap for early 2009.
Will breaking Live Search away from the rest of the diverse Windows Live family with a new name help it prosper, or are you looking for better features? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
This week, Microsoft rolled out major enhancements to yet another member of its Live family: Live Search Maps.
Now, Live Search Maps places the directions in the left pane and the map in the right pane, making it easier to follow your route. Click the number next to each checkpoint to display a detailed map. And, you can switch quickly between 2D, 3D, aerial, and traffic views and, in a feature borrowed from its rivals, add stops as desired.
In a significant nod to those of us who navigate by landmarks, landmarks in six categories (gas stations, major national hotel chains, restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, and car dealerships) are now incorporated into the directions ("pass TACO BELL on the left in 1.1 miles"), and Live Search Maps even warns you if you've passed your last turn ("the last intersection is Main St If you reach Oak St, you've gone too far"). So, whether you're on a cross-country jaunt or just need to fill the inner geek with a quick meal, Live Search Maps has you covered.
CNet's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft has decided to remove Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Mail from Windows 7. Given the fact that Microsoft continues to upgrade its Live replacements for Photo Gallery and Mail, and added Movie Maker to the Live family, as we reported last week, this move seems to make a lot of sense.
As someone who's been recommending that Windows Vista users replace Windows Photo Gallery with Windows Live Photo Gallery ever since Live Photo Gallery was launched, I think that stripping Windows of utilities that only some people will use makes plenty of sense. Here's why:
1. Faster development of operating system releases. As Windows Live general manager Brian Hall told Fried, "It [this decision]makes it [Windows 7] much cleaner."
2. Fewer worries about antitrust actions. Lawsuits by the EU forced Microsoft to distribute EU-specific versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista that are missing Windows Media Player. By dropping other multimedia features, Microsoft makes Windows 7 even less appealing as a lawsuit target.
3. New partnership opportunities. According to Hall,"We can do things with specific partners to enable really great experiences that might be hard in Windows." We might see Windows 7+Adobe, Windows 7+Corel, or Windows 7+open source bundles from various OEMs.
4. Fewer opportunities for compatibility problems. As anyone who has ever wrestled with Windows Vista multimedia tools being broken by installing third-party tools (I recommend the freeware Vista Codec Package, available at http://shark007.net, if you can't burn CDs or DVDs in Windows Vista anymore after installing a third-party DVD burner), the possibility of reducing the chances of a "codec war" or other compatibility problems is a welcome one.
So, what do you think? Do you like the idea of choosing your favorite free or commercial photo, video, and email clients right from the start, or do you prefer the current method? Are you more likely to buy a preinstalled version of Windows 7 if it had a well-integrated third-party media and email software bundle, or do you prefer to create your own "best of breed" combination? Do you have a horror story of third-party apps and Windows butting heads? Tell them now before Windows 7 does away with them. Hit the jump for your chance.
Windows Live has come a long way since it was first introduced as a Microsoft brand in 2006. The first wave bolted Hotmail, Messenger, and Spaces into a single download. In last year's second wave, tools like SkyDrive, Events, Photo Gallery, LiveWriter, Calendar, and Family Safety joined the family, along with support for mobile devices. This week, Microsoft rolled out its third wave, adding a new member to the Windows Live family (Movie Maker) and new features to several existing programs (Messenger, Photo Gallery, Writer, Toolbar, and more). We've already told you about the new features in Hotmail, so join us after the jump to find out what's new and improved.
ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has apparently learned that Microsoft’s online alternative to Google Docs will emerge from beta before the end of this year. Office Live Workspace is a service that is geared to work as either a standalone product, or in tandem with Office 2003-2007. It has been suggested that the current public beta is fairly close to the final version, and the primary issue outstanding is language support. Microsoft wishes to expand the 11 languages it currently supports to 37 before it officially lifts the beta tag later this year. Spokesmen Kirk Gregersen from Microsoft has also reportedly commented on the surprising trends they have identified during the public beta. It was originally assumed that casual users such as students would use Live Workspace as a means to author and remotely access documents. Instead, the service is being used mostly as a single access point for collaborative efforts involving multiple users. Insiders have suggested that this only further demonstrates why desktop versions of Microsoft Office won’t be leaving us anytime soon.
For those who haven’t been following the development of Office Live Workspace, hit the jump to learn more about the services currently being offered.