So the New York Times ran an interesting article over the weekend about Microsoft’s strategy with Bing and they went through all the usual touch points about how Microsoft are trying to do something special with Bing, trying to evolve search, make it easier yadda yadda.
One of the things that did jump out at me was the news about a new app called the Deskbar.
The first session focuses on software still in the concept stage, called Bing DeskBar. It is downloadable software for personal computers, and perhaps for smartphones and tablets. The DeskBar, in the early June prototype, sorts information by categories like people, documents and Web sites. It presents information in those categories in large on-screen icons, or tiles, and sorts data by what is most “recent, relevant and frequently used,” as one designer says.
The people feature, for example, sorts through communications including e-mail, Facebook and Twitter messages. The idea is to filter messages according to computed criteria — like those from your work colleagues, or from people you communicate with most often.
DeskBar is one of several experimental projects in the larger Bing strategy, Mr. MacDonald explains later. “You take a product category, you expand it and you own that expanded category,” he says. “We have a recipe.”
Now, I have to admit that when Ballmer and co. did the Bing demo at WPC, I was pretty impressed with it. They seem to be thinking hard and long about the future of search and rather than being reactionary and making short term moves, they are making cautious long temr investments that might (emphasis on might) pay off.
Having said that, the questions are still open about what the Deskbar is and more importantly, will it be included in Windows 8?
While it makes obvious sense to throw it into Windows 8, the question I have is, would that be monopolistic to bundle that in Windows? Isn’t that part of what Microsoft got into trouble about with IE several years ago?
If they do bundle it in and it starts to help Bing make inroads against Google, look for Google to run straight to the Justice department.
Time will tell…