Microsoft decision engine Bing is gone beyond search, making it capable of connecting people ‘Social search’, not just returning results to user queries, according to Sean Suchter, who heads Bing’s social search team on Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus.
“‘Social search’ adds a layer to traditional search by using data from users’ social networks to enhance the Bing experience. This lets users find not only what they’re looking for, but view related information from their family, friends, coworkers and contacts, whether it’s liking the same band, eating at a restaurant or booking a trip,” says Suchter in an interview with Microsoft News Center (MNC).
“There’s a lot of innovation in this space,” Suchter says. “There are startups here and there, and Google’s got their own effort, and Facebook’s got some big things going on too, but the exciting part about what we’re doing is that we actually have the ability to put it all together.”
It’s massive in scale, has complicated user interface design, low latency, and machine learning, and a lot of factors go into tackling these things.
“It’s basically got every challenge except high complexity computer graphics, but with Bing’s rich visuals and animations, we’re getting there too,” Suchter says. “I lucked out getting into social search, this area that is pretty much the big thing going on.”
“There are more humans publishing content in social media than there are publishing Web pages, and this is a sea change. If you’re going to search, and you’re going to type something into that magic box to find whatever it is you’re looking for, it’s not just about finding information, it’s about connecting to people. That’s what our goal is,” Suchter reveals.
Tim Harrington, a senior software development engineer for Microsoft, notes that “Search is a frontier, but in particular social search is a frontier. It’s the most cutting edge thing on the Internet right now. It’s understood how to do traditional Web search – there’s lots more work to do, but it’s a game of inches.”
“We’re still building our system and it’s really awesome. It feels like a startup – it’s an exciting place to be,” added Harrington.