Searching for snow? We can find it.

February is upon us, and for many of us snow addicts, this is one of the most exciting times of the year. And what great luck we have this year! From the Pacific Northwest to Colorado to the Northeast, snow is dumping from above. While others are out ripping up the fresh powder, we’ve been working on ways to make it easier to find the snow.

Our snow “instant answer” shows you a quick overview of ski conditions at a given resort. For example, type in Vail and you’ll get:

Image of Vail snow report instant answer on Live Search

Make sure there’s snow before you make your next trip up the mountain!

Theo Vachovsky, Instant Answers Product Manager, Live Search

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9 comments
  1. Anonymous

    Hey – add the surf reports to places like Seabastian Inlet and you’ve got me on board!  (OK, the snow stuff is cool as well)

  2. Anonymous

    Great…I really hope you build more Live Search Answers because you have to differentiate from Google somehow.  It would be awesome if you could build build answers from public data sets that showed charts, etc.  For example, the when I type CPI (consumer price index) it could give me a historical chart, segments of CPI, etc. that I could manipulate.  The same idea could be extended to census data and tons of other databases.  This would really be a huge point of differentiation, something Live Search desperately needs.

    Just as a note to the program managers on Live Search, I think it would be a good exercise to have each one come up with a 30 second pitch on why a user should switch to Live Search.  I think this would be a good learning lesson because I just don’t see any reason for people to switch or even try Live Search at this point…do you?

  3. Anonymous

    Thanks for the feedback. The surfing answer idea certainly appeals to me ( having grown up in Southern California ) .  The economic data answer is also a good idea considering the recent news.  We will put these on our research queue.

    Theo Vachovsky, Instant Answers Product Manager, Live Search

  4. Anonymous

    Hey David,

    Thanks for commenting. It is always awesome when someone takes the time to give us feedback and suggestions for improving Search.

    I actually like the 30-second idea and will be farming it around internally to see what I can do. I think we can certainly do more videoblogging and meeting the team this way really can help explain a lot of the passion around Live Search.

    I am recently returned to Live Search after working in Xbox and I’ll be blogging about the change shortly but yes, I did it on purpose, and no, no one forced me to come here – I chose Live Search over videogaming because this is such an important space. I also joined the team to get the chance to hear folks like you tell us what we can do better, what things you see out there in the world that maybe we miss, etc.

    So thanks again for the long comment – I appreciate it!

    Betsy Aoki

    Live Search

  5. Anonymous

    I have a really stupid question that I would like to have answered but I cant seem to find a way to get to someone that can answer it so I’m posting it here. Since you are the Live Search experts I hope you can answer this one simple question. Make it two.

    Where can I get the images used in the background on the Live Search website?

    Is there a webmaster I can contact that can direct me to where they get their pictures?

    I have already submitted a request through the Live Search website with no success. It was actually a problem report but I couldnt figure out any other way to ask a question like this so here I am.

    The image I want to get is of Mammoth Hot Springs posted as the background image on 2/9/09 at the time. The image changes daily and all I want is the jpg file so I can use it as the wallpaper on my desktop.

    Can anyone from MS Live answer this simple question? It seemed appropriate to post a request here since the topic is "Searching for snow? We can find it." In other words if it’s that easy and what you say is true then help me find the image I’m looking for? Any bets they will come through?

  6. Anonymous

    @Spydor: All of the images we use on the homepage we have to license from one place or another so we are unable to distribute those photos. However, if you go to the Live Search Facebook page they keep an album of all the screenshots of the homepages and you can see where that particular photo was licensed from and go that route. Hope this helps! Let us know if not and I can look into it further.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Live-Search/29120411325

  7. Anonymous

    Betsy,

    You’re awesome!!  I saw a video of you on Scoble and I really liked your thinking on blogs and communicating with customers…it’s good to know that search has someone like you on-board.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about the innovative features that the Live Search team plans on rolling out to try to gain market share versus Google – it should be interesting to watch.

  8. Anonymous

    Only in the US ?

    No snow conditions in the Alps ?

  9. Anonymous

    Interesting article below:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/bloomberg-and-reuters-clobbered-companies-could-lose-500-million-2009-2

    As mentioned previously, I really think that building interactive charts and mining databases for useful work information could provide be a boon to the first search engine wise enough to do it.  Particularly interesting are the comments in the above article.  It’s interesting to note that much of the information that Bloomberg mines is publically available from places like Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census data, etc.  

    It seems so intuitive to build search related verticals for work items since people would likely switch search engines to:

    (1) save money

    (2) save time

    Another interesting phenomenom is law websites that charge for publically available material (i.e. Quicklaw, Lexis Nexis, etc.).  These sites charge thousands of dollars (Bloomberg is $1500/month) for information that seems like it is relatively available in the public domain but isn’t well organized.

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