Bing Team Talks About Their Vision For The Future Of Mapping

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The Bing Team wrote a nice blog post titled “Entities, Apps, and Maps.”  In the last paragraph the team talks about what they see in the future of Bing Maps:

Moving into the future, entity knowledge will greatly enhance our mapping experiences. While our Bing Maps Preview app already takes advantage of Satori to deliver smart features like Local Scout, we have a vision for maps where everything is annotated with useful information: what buildings are called, what stores are in them, how to get in touch with those stores and when they are open. Much of this exists today in our current experiences, but further integrating entity knowledge into maps will transform digital maps from the visual representation they are today to a deep model of what the world is like.

Another element of how maps and entities will converge is putting map-construction technology in the hands of our users. The newly released Photosynth technology maps entities in a different, breathtaking way, and does just that, letting everyone in the world capture everything in the world in glorious 3D.

Moving forward, you will see us mapping more of everything – both the web and the real world. It is as much about understanding the context of a searcher’s query as giving you a better map. When we understand the real world, we understand what you’re asking – and that is where search magic happens.

You may recall the Bing team first publically talked about Satori in March of 2013.

The underlying technology for Snapshot is designed to develop deep understanding of the world around us not only as a collection of entities (people, places and things) but also the relationships between those entities. Inside the Bing engineering team, we call this technology Satori, which means “understanding” in Japanese. Satori currently contains over 22 billion entities and their attributes and is growing every day.

When the Nokia deal closes, Microsoft will get access to a ton of data from HERE Maps.  Microsoft was unable to actually acquire the maps division of Nokia and it is in fact one of the main factors in what took the deal so long to close.  Satori will be able to take advantage of that data and we should see an improvement in Bing Maps.

A little off topic here, but the Bing team is one of the divisions that remains quite independent at Microsoft.  It’s currently headed by Qu Li who reports directly to Ballmer (fun trivia fact: Ballmer gave Mr. Li special permission to wear jeans whenever he wants)  As Myerson forces some Sinofsky’s lieutenants out of the Windows division some of them have chosen to go over to Bing including Harris & Dworkin.  It will be interesting what to see what the Bing management structure looks like a year from now.  By all accounts Li is a very demanding person to work for, but really has to be when he is tasked with competing with Google.  Analysts who believe Microsoft is even considering selling Bing are way off base.

It’s been amazing to see the evolution of Bing over the last 7 years and to see how it has become integrated into Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, etc. I remember using it in beta form when it was branded Windows Live Search.  I first became aware of Satya “Nutella” Nadella when he took over Windows Live Search and re-branded it to Live search.  Where Bing really needs to improve is internationally.  While Bing is great in the US I don’t know of a single person who uses it as their default search engine outside of here.

Read the full post over at the Bing Blog

Are you using Bing outside of the US? Let us know in the comments below…

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