Bing Banks On Deep Contextual Search With One-Stop Entertainment Hub

Bing sure knows how to deliver on its promises. In our June 10 SEM post, we did tell you that a show was slated to take place in Los Angeles for another Bing announcement. That sure was the place to do it (you'll see why in a second), and the search arm of Microsoft rolled out the red carpet - no less - for the launch of its new born: Bing Entertainment, a deep contextual search engine. Here's what it's all about.

Deep Contextual Integration
"Ten percent of search queries are entertainment-related," Bing said on its blog post. This is why the search engine has gone full power on its new entertainment-centric tool. So the idea behind this new service is to attract all fun/entertainment/multimedia-related searches to one single destination on Bing's dedicated site: Bing Entertainment. As you might expect, the one-stop hub aggregates TV shows, movies, games and music. But the interesting idea is that it goes well beyond just delivering the goods: it also gives you the ropes and tricks through deep contextual search. Let me explain.

Bing Entertainment will give you the ability to search for the actual items in the categories mentioned earlier AND it will also provide you with all the information and data that evolves around the item. It brings the ecosystem in one single place. To do so, the search engine leverages all its newly announced features, including its social integration of real-time feeds from Twitter and Facebook, Bing Maps, Bing Weather and more.

Full Local Query Conversion
Let's say, for example, that your query is about a concert or a show or a movie that you want to go to. Bing Entertainment will tell you where it's happening and at what time in local listings. It'll give you your friends' comments from Twitter and Facebook. It'll give you the option to buy your tickets straight from its platform, holding your hand gently to convert your search into a purchase. Think it's over? No. Then, it'll also tell you how to go there and give you real-time traffic info and news by integrating Bing Maps. And, in case you might want to grab a bite, it'll also suggest restaurants, with full social critics, online reviews and virtual visit thanks notably its to EveryScape Eats app. Oh, and yes, the weather too, Bing Weather Map will let you know if you need that extra pullover, just in case...

That's what the one-stop hub will do. So from a simple organic entertainment-related query, Bing can lead you to a purchase quite naturally and will retain your retina (think: Dwell time) on its sites for as long as it has more contextual information that might be of interest for your purpose.

Quick Tour
Here's what the main screen looks like, with the main category tabs at the top and the top-rated suggestions (sort of "editor's picks," really) at the bottom.

bing Entertainment hub Main.JPG

For Bing Music, the SERP will include songs, artists, albums, as well as lyrics. Bing Music has over 5 million songs that can be listened to in full-length and can be purchased right there and then via the engine's partnerships with Zune, iTunes and Amazon. Bing's challengers in the field are the likes of Spotify and Deezer who also offer free full-length streaming capacities and acquisition options. As explained above, Bing's pushing the envelope further by also providing lyrics (78% of people use search to find song lyrics) AND the option to purchase concert tickets on the spot.

Bing Games' SERP includes around 100 free "casual" games as well as video games, plus the aggregated content, i.e. "gaming reviews, cheats and walkthroughs." Players can enjoy the games "without downloading, signing in or risking spyware," the company said. Bing reckons there are 174 million gamers in the U.S., 63% of which search game-related information. Just imagine the market. Bing is banking on peer-traction as it makes it possible for gamers to invite friends to play on the platform. The company did not elaborate on the possibility of making game-related purchases but one can bet that Bing will be looking at its mobile interface so as to benefit from the high potential of mobile virtual gaming purchases.

Bing TV relies on partnerships with Hulu, Viacom, CBS - to cite only a few - to bring over 1 500 TV shows and 20 000 full-length episodes on its platform. The aggregate search data consists of TV listings, and easy access to episodes, reviews, images, etc. as well as direct peer reviews from Twitter and Facebook. Bing says that "People spend 83 hours watching TV and online video every single month, with more than 30% of people watching all of their TV episodes online."

Bing Movies brings visual search, customer reviews, in-line movie trailers, highlight videos, one-click ticket purchasing, as well as mapping, traffic, local listings and "even local parking lot locations." According to Bing's figures 88% of people search to look up movies, and 40% search for movie trailers. It just gives you an idea of the lead generation power the hub will have.

Is that a great idea or what? Where's Google now?

About the author

Liva Judic joined Search Engine Watch and ClickZ in May 2010 as a news blogger. She has lived and worked across the globe in Madagascar, Switzerland, London, NYC, Asia and is now based in between New York and Berlin.

Her background is in government relations and financial media where she started out as a journalist at Bloomberg and became senior editor at AFX news (now part of ThomsonReuters). Prior to forming her own consultancy Judic was head of international PR for a head of state.

Judic focuses on facilitating brand and marketing transitioning for European startups moving to the US. She has been named one of the Top 50 Industry Influencers of 2014 by AGBeat