It’s very difficult to fault a company for cross-performing and cross-optimizing their various products, but with the big technology companies there’s also a barrier: some product lines are just categorically different. So, while you can mention Chrome on YouTube and optimize Gmail for features of both, there are a limited number of ways you could play with – for example – Blogger and Google TV as synergistic services. But Microsoft has come up with one very clever way to cross the category boundary with Bing search: making it a part of the Xbox experience.
The Microsoft Xbox 360 is currently in a stiff competition with Sony’s Playstation 3 (both companies having beaten the Nintendo Wii soundly), and much of that battle is content-oriented. Since users aren’t likely to enjoy paying for new versions of the console, both Microsoft and Sony have pushed large amounts of online content – including automatic downloads of games, Netflix subscriptions, “avatar” decorations, and more. The Bing Search for Xbox, showcased at E3, is a way to streamline the content-finding process for users.
The service won’t be released until this holiday season, but we have a very clear idea of how it works. Users will use the Microsoft Tellme’s voice recognition program to tell their Xbox that they want to search (by saying “Xbox Bing”) and what they want to search for (such as “Batman”). A list of related content is then pulled together using Bing technology. The content can include video games, movies, previews, demos, music, and more, but the presented products will be prioritized based on what the user has already subscribed to (such as with Netflix content) or purchased (such as with Zune downloads), with buyable results coming afterward.
Beyond giving Microsoft a potential advantage in organizing and selling their content to Xbox users, the company will also enjoy improved recognition of their search engine. After all, when you’re saying “Xbox Bing” a few times a day, the name starts to sink in.
[via the Bing Blog]