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PubCon: Microsoft Live Search Keynote Address

A shift towards task-centric search results

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Microsoft’s moving forward in more ways than one.  Even as it announced a new and more social Windows Live redesign this morning, Satya Nadella, a senior vice president, gave some details on the search side of things during a PubCon keynote.

(Coverage of PubCon continues at WebProNews Videos.  Stay with WebProNews for continued coverage from the event this week.)

PubCon: Microsoft Live Search Keynote Address

Nadella summed up both his department’s direction and the main points of his speech by stating that no one performs searches in isolation.  Searches are performed in the context of a task (either implicit or explicit), according to Nadella, and Microsoft is doing its best to respond to these situations.

A search for [flight to Las Vegas], for example, yields results from Live Search Farecast, a tool that’s in beta.  Or you can search for [canon digital camera] and see both product results and some buying guides.

PubCon: Microsoft Live Search Keynote Address

"Task completion is going to become the next measure of relevance," claimed Nadella.  And as for how Microsoft’s going to recognize tasks in the first place, its acquisition of Powerset may well figure into the matter.  The SVP said, "Going forward we think semantics are going to play a crucial role."

PubCon: Microsoft Live Search Keynote Address

On other fronts, Microsoft intends to simplify key tasks, and has worked on video and image search (with pictures from Virtual Earth being pulled into the latter).  It may even innovate in terms of a business model, although relevant details were lacking.

Microsoft hasn’t entirely accepted its backseat to Google and Yahoo, either.  Nadella stated, "As far as we are concerned, the race for core relevance is on."

PubCon: Microsoft Live Search Keynote Address
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    Nadella stated "Microsoft hasn’t entirely accepted its backseat to Google"

    Two years ago I thought Microsoft should get out of search.  Recently I find Live results to be very relevant.

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