A guest post from Gayatri Bhaskar, Bing Fan.
I was recently invited to a ‘Bing Fans’ event, a pilot hosted by the Bing team at Microsoft. I guess that is just one of the perks of being a ‘Bing Fan’. I was definitely not going to miss this one!
Seated amidst the people who work on the different Bing teams and other guests, from all walks of life; the event started off with a welcome note and thank you from the GM, which showed us the level of commitment Bing was ready to put in for this. Enter ‘Bingfans’. With the help of their feedback and insight, Bing aims to better themselves and give their customers a better experience. We were made to feel like ‘Bing Insiders’ who had an exclusive chance to meet the faces behind the search engine and get a glimpse of what’s in store in the future. It was a little like the excitement of a ‘sneak-peek’ before the big sale.
After a brief round of guest introductions, it was demo time and our chance to see some of the cool and exciting upcoming features.
The Image search was first on the table. The team has built further on the ‘news carousel’, which is unique to Bing and widely liked by Bing users. The image search has also been enhanced with an amazing feature that aids in a quick multi share on social media platforms. This fresh development will save time over cut-pasting.
The Video search demo was particularly interesting with its little video snippets at the bottom of a video, which lets you pre-decide if that is actually the video you want to watch (Watch out Youube!). They also have other entertaining features in the offing that will take an evening with friends at home to whole other level!
The Maps team had already borne the brunt of the guests before they walked up to the dais to make their presentations. Most of the Bing Fans had a few grouses with the working and efficiency of the maps on Bing. Although, I must admit that Bing Maps has come a long way since their debut. The demo was good and some of the features they’re planning to roll out are quite nifty. There were a few ‘How’d you do that’ moments during the presentation. The Maps team might not have completely redeemed themselves but they seem to have good things coming up soon!
The floor was then open to ideas, feedback and opinions from all the invitees. Each and every one of our points was taken into consideration and it helped that we got to chat with the people behind the product. We could better explain our grudges (which there weren’t just a few of) to them and they in turn, either had a good reason as to why things were the way they were or they had great concepts on how to better themselves going forward. At the end of the day, it did feel like they valued our opinions and I can’t wait to see the changes they bring forth. It’d be exciting to see something roll out in the future and say ‘Yeah, I knew about that one!’
The future of Bing seems to be getting brighter and while the naysayers will continue their pessimism, what I saw at the sneak-peek makes me happier about my choice of search engine. Bing rewards aside (although it’s a really sweet deal!) my choice was initially largely driven by its picture-of-the-day. However, with Cortana and the gorgeous daily dose of wallpapers means more reasons to switch to Bing. With the new set of features, it just leaves us wondering if Bing is ready to take over. All they need now is an aggressive marketing team who can paint the right picture for them and get folks to lap it all up!
Gayatri Bhaskar – Guest Blogger and Bing Fan
Note from the Bing Team – we will be doing more of these events around the country so if you are a ‘Bing Fan’ and want to be included, please send us an email at BingListens@microsoft.com.