Microsoft – SASCon BETA 2014

SAScon BETA 2014

James Murray from Microsoft kicks off the second half to SAScon with his talk on unlocking the potential of search. He highlights how it provides us with the need, wants and desires of people like no other. Search engines are being used in so many different approaches that it is easy to show us what is on peoples minds, ‘Why’ being one of the most searched queries.

We are getting greater insights from these searches such as demographics. Focusing on supermarkets, James highlights how gender, age and device can change with different leading UK supermarket searches. For example 18-24 year olds are more likely to search for Waitrose. With this data we can learn great ways to target new audiences.

James demonstrates that great uses and ways to act upon this data. For example Microsoft collected from Bing for and were able to calculate 15 out of 16 knock out matches of the World Cup. Based on peoples search queries, you can gain great insight into consumer behaviour.

Microsoft are using the data they are collecting and taking it beyond the search box. Search doesn’t have to be restricted to the search box. Search can be the power behind life outside the box.

Using Windows 8 to demonstrate, James goes on to highlight the power and resourcefulness of search becoming more submerged within our everyday technology. From a Bing perspective, search is consistently trying to become more personalised to learn about us, intuitive to learn what we need before we act and productive.

With great examples and references to apps that can understand when you need to go to the bathroom, James highlights how much useful and amazing information is available beyond our searches. Search can be improved and made better in order to allow people to access the right data that so many of us never discover.

Moving onto context, it is suggested context is king and not content. Emotional, Environment, Social and External are the four elements that search needs to understand. For example, the weather can effect how far we are willing to travel to reach our favourite brand of coffee and search needs understand this. If it rains it should direct us to the shortest route and therefore it understands our context. We go beyond talking to the machine and want to reach human like interaction with our search.

James highlights how search needs to go beyond our current needs. It needs to take a human approach and interact with us therefore changing the current day search. We shouldn’t be changing for the search to understand us, we want the search to change for us and therefore understand our lifestyle and our natural daily queries.

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