Bing It On
By April Walloga
FROM LEFT: Biz Stone, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Todd Phillips and Ryan Seacrest participating in Bing’s Creative Minds panel at the launch of Bing Entertainment in West Hollywood; Drake performs at the launch party for Bing Entertainment at BOA Steakhouse
Software pioneer Mitchell Kapor once said, “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” Amen to that. And with almost 20,000 new sites crowding online every day, who hasn’t experienced road rage on the Web’s superhighway?
Enter Bing, the search engine from Microsoft geared toward one very specific goal—delivering you to your destination with minimal clickage. “Our competitor loves [lengthy searches] because you have five to
eight advertisers on the page, and the more searches you do, the more money they make,” says Eric Hadley, general manager of worldwide marketing for Bing. Throughout its seven intuitive search categories (images, videos, shopping, news, maps, travel and entertainment), Bing plants the “most wanted” information on the first page of results. For example, shop for an item on Bing and you’ll find product summaries, user reviews, expert opinions and a unique scorecard compiled from reliable sources across the Web—all on the results page. Within the videos tab, users can scroll over thumbnails for an instant preview to minimize back-button clicking.
This summer following their one-year anniversary, Bing launched a comprehensive entertainment package and a spiffy new iPhone app (to add to the several it already offered). The entertainment search encompasses movies, television, music and video games. Users can watch trailers and get local show times, browse a television directory more than 21,000 episodes deep and stream songs—all without ever leaving Bing or fiddling with registration, user names or passwords.
With one of Bing’s iPhone apps, Ryan Seacrest’s MixTapes by Bing, users have access to special playlists. “[With Bing’s various apps] you can get the American Top 40 playlists, Ryan’s playlist and the top 100 songs from each decade,” says Hadley. “Ryan curates a playlist of hundreds and hundreds of songs.” Perhaps the Bing app’s niftiest feature is the bar code-scanner, which can be used to comparison shop for anything with a bar code—from CDs to Louboutins.
And proving they’ve got just as much quirk as the gang at Google (known for such antics as posting a Pac-Man player on their home page), Bing’s director of brand entertainment, Sean Carver, and The Colbert Report writers recently put their heads together on a skit to raise funds for the Gulf. Bing pledged $2,500 toward oil-spill relief each time Colbert said the word “Bing” in a single episode, which ultimately racked up $100,000 for the cause.
So what’s next for Bing? “We’re going to add more and more all the time. We just announced a Twitter deal a couple of months ago,” says Hadley. “As we evolve the products, it’s going to get more personalized and more about what you want.”
Mitchell Kapor, Bing, Microsoft, Eric Hadley, iPhone App, Video Games, Ryan Seacrest, American Top 40, The Colbert Report, Louboutins
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.