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Search Blog — Sep 2008

  • September
    25

    Helping you find your way

    The Virtual Earth team has just released a major update that brings some great new features, as well as enhancements to existing features to Live Search Maps . Some of the highlights include: New imagery. Brings locations to life, with richer bird's eye and 3D imagery of more locations in cities across North America. Weather Integration. Features near-real time local weather and cloud formations within the 3D imagery. Localized maps. Provides maps in English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish for customers in Western Europe. Localized maps are supported for both desktop and mobile applications. Near-matching capabilities . Uses near-matching capabilities to find locations with alternate and similar spellings, resulting in a more relevant search experience. Landmark-based routing. Enhances searching for customers in the U.S. and Canada by offering maps with familiar landmarks, such as gas stations and fast-food restaurants, called out by name. Rich imagery for mobile users. Shows new maps rendered specifically for mobile devices. One-click directions. Gives directions in one click, enabling you to choose from route options by shortest... Read More The Virtual Earth team has just released a major update that brings some great new features, as well as enhancements to existing features to Live Search Maps . Some of the highlights include: New imagery. Brings locations to life, with richer bird's eye and 3D imagery of more locations in cities across North America. Weather Integration. Features near-real time local weather and cloud formations within the 3D imagery. Localized maps. Provides maps in English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish for customers in Western Europe. Localized maps are supported for both desktop and mobile applications. Near-matching capabilities . Uses near-matching capabilities to find locations with alternate and similar spellings, resulting in a more relevant search experience. Landmark-based routing. Enhances searching for customers in the U.S. and Canada by offering maps with familiar landmarks, such as gas stations and fast-food restaurants, called out by name. Rich imagery for mobile users. Shows new maps rendered specifically for mobile devices. One-click directions. Gives directions in one click, enabling you to choose from route options by shortest... Read More
  • September
    18

    “Live” (Search) from Safeco Field

    If you were trying to get a hold of someone in Live Search today, you were probably getting nothing but voicemail as it seemed like everyone was keen to get downtown for the Microsoft company meeting! When I left campus this morning there were 10 buses full of Search team members leaving for Safeco field. After chatting briefly with Harry Shum and a few developers who were waiting for their bus, I headed out on my motorbike to get ready for my demo. I’ve been here at the company for 17 years and I love the company meeting. When I worked in Dublin and London we used to watch the meeting on video link (a bit warmer), and when I moved to Seattle in 2003 I finally got to experience being there in person. It’s always been a great place to hear what’s happening across the company and check out all the cool demos. I had the opportunity to demo again this year, and although I can’t tell you all the cool things I got to show, I can say that it’s always fun demoing in front of a huge, enthusiastic stadium crowd. Backstage was amazing, watching the executives rehearsing and working together to make the event great for employees. Speaking for myself, I left with no doubt that our leaders love... Read More If you were trying to get a hold of someone in Live Search today, you were probably getting nothing but voicemail as it seemed like everyone was keen to get downtown for the Microsoft company meeting! When I left campus this morning there were 10 buses full of Search team members leaving for Safeco field. After chatting briefly with Harry Shum and a few developers who were waiting for their bus, I headed out on my motorbike to get ready for my demo. I’ve been here at the company for 17 years and I love the company meeting. When I worked in Dublin and London we used to watch the meeting on video link (a bit warmer), and when I moved to Seattle in 2003 I finally got to experience being there in person. It’s always been a great place to hear what’s happening across the company and check out all the cool demos. I had the opportunity to demo again this year, and although I can’t tell you all the cool things I got to show, I can say that it’s always fun demoing in front of a huge, enthusiastic stadium crowd. Backstage was amazing, watching the executives rehearsing and working together to make the event great for employees. Speaking for myself, I left with no doubt that our leaders love... Read More
  • September
    17

    Powerset’s First Live Search projects

    Powerset officially became a part of Microsoft a little over a month ago, and Live Search has been hard at work collaborating with Powerset on several quick projects designed to be ready for testing within 30 days. These projects encouraged early collaboration between our two teams, as well as sharing of respective technologies. Freebase Answers Our first joint project was to expand the coverage of Live Search Answers. Today, many topical queries such as such as musicians, albums, and films don't show Answers. So for this experiment, we selected some of these categories and used Freebase to return a topic summary with links, similar to the Freebase Answers in Powerset: Improved captions for Wikipedia results Our second project was to use Powerset's semantic technology to generate improved captions for Wikipedia articles. Because Wikipedia articles show up in a large percentage of Live Search queries, it's important that the captions are top notch. Old caption New caption New related searches using the Factz engine For our third project, we used Powerset's Factz extraction to generate a list of related searches for a set of queries: For more details... Read More Powerset officially became a part of Microsoft a little over a month ago, and Live Search has been hard at work collaborating with Powerset on several quick projects designed to be ready for testing within 30 days. These projects encouraged early collaboration between our two teams, as well as sharing of respective technologies. Freebase Answers Our first joint project was to expand the coverage of Live Search Answers. Today, many topical queries such as such as musicians, albums, and films don't show Answers. So for this experiment, we selected some of these categories and used Freebase to return a topic summary with links, similar to the Freebase Answers in Powerset: Improved captions for Wikipedia results Our second project was to use Powerset's semantic technology to generate improved captions for Wikipedia articles. Because Wikipedia articles show up in a large percentage of Live Search queries, it's important that the captions are top notch. Old caption New caption New related searches using the Factz engine For our third project, we used Powerset's Factz extraction to generate a list of related searches for a set of queries: For more details... Read More
  • September
    08

    Microsoft Translator makes the Web more...

    Now that the Web is more worldwide than ever, the number of non-native English speakers going online has ballooned, and yet online content in English still dominates. For these users, free translation services mean that an entire world of information can now actually be at their fingertips. We're doing something to help them out. Translation now fully powered by the Microsoft Translator technology is available through Live Search, as well as IE8, the Windows Live Toolbar, and even a translation bot for Windows Live Messenger. For example, to translate this search result, click "Translate this page" at the end of the result description: You'll see the page in a bilingual view , with the original page on the left, and the translated page on the right. Here's how the Messenger bot does translations for you. Just add mtbot@hotmail.com to your contacts and start chatting away. You can have one-on-one conversations with the bot, or you can invite a friend and chat in different languages with the bot translating for you. Here are the languages we support today: English to/from: Arabic Chinese Simplified Chinese Traditional Dutch French German... Read More Now that the Web is more worldwide than ever, the number of non-native English speakers going online has ballooned, and yet online content in English still dominates. For these users, free translation services mean that an entire world of information can now actually be at their fingertips. We're doing something to help them out. Translation now fully powered by the Microsoft Translator technology is available through Live Search, as well as IE8, the Windows Live Toolbar, and even a translation bot for Windows Live Messenger. For example, to translate this search result, click "Translate this page" at the end of the result description: You'll see the page in a bilingual view , with the original page on the left, and the translated page on the right. Here's how the Messenger bot does translations for you. Just add mtbot@hotmail.com to your contacts and start chatting away. You can have one-on-one conversations with the bot, or you can invite a friend and chat in different languages with the bot translating for you. Here are the languages we support today: English to/from: Arabic Chinese Simplified Chinese Traditional Dutch French German... Read More
  • September
    03

    Let your voice be heard

    Elections document the will of the people, or at least the will of registered voters. On November 4 th , you'll be asked to answer many questions, including who should be our next president, as well as questions at your state and local level. Many blogs and analytical sites offer projections, comparisons to previous elections, and details about the issues and candidates themselves, including the MSN Election Guide . Those are great and important resources for informing your opinion. But it's about the people's voice, right? And now you can search for what they're saying! Live Search QnA represents the community's microphone and speaker, since the community asks and answers each other's questions. Links are encouraged to help prove or disprove a claim, and you can search through all the pre-existing question/answer threads over a range of topics. Michelle Slatalla, the New York Times journalist, reports on the rising phenomenon with her own recent experience in searching for (and finding) an answer to why her smoke alarms kept on beeping (answer: spider interference!). And with the Democratic Convention finished and the Republican Convention underway, some of the most... Read More Elections document the will of the people, or at least the will of registered voters. On November 4 th , you'll be asked to answer many questions, including who should be our next president, as well as questions at your state and local level. Many blogs and analytical sites offer projections, comparisons to previous elections, and details about the issues and candidates themselves, including the MSN Election Guide . Those are great and important resources for informing your opinion. But it's about the people's voice, right? And now you can search for what they're saying! Live Search QnA represents the community's microphone and speaker, since the community asks and answers each other's questions. Links are encouraged to help prove or disprove a claim, and you can search through all the pre-existing question/answer threads over a range of topics. Michelle Slatalla, the New York Times journalist, reports on the rising phenomenon with her own recent experience in searching for (and finding) an answer to why her smoke alarms kept on beeping (answer: spider interference!). And with the Democratic Convention finished and the Republican Convention underway, some of the most... Read More