SAN FRANCISCO _ Among the goodies that Microsoft’s giving to developers at its Build conference is a $10 billion search engine.
The company announced that it’s now offering Bing as a platform for software developers.
“The unbounded knowledge of the Web is now available to your applications,” Vice President Gurdeep Singh Pall said.
This came after Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Windows executives showed off the new version of Windows 8 that was updated largely in response to feedback from heavy-duty PC users. They also showed off new touchscreen PCs and improvements to the Visual Studio development kit.
Ballmer said developers should benefit from Bing being built into Windows PCs, phones and Xbox.
But perhaps Ballmer was also speaking to financial analysts in the room. Some have called on Microsoft to stop pouring billions into Bing and spinoff its search business after years of struggling to take market share from Google. Offering Bing as a platform for developers is a different tack, and Bing’s deep integration into core products makes it clear Ballmer has no intention of jettisoning the business.
Pall showed how applications can be written with voice search – he asked questions about Spain and a tablet returned vacation suggestions, then more detailed information about a particular destination.
He also demonstrated how Bing’s translation and character-recognition capabilities can be tapped by applications. He held a Spanish menu up before a Surface tablet and it was scanned and translated via the search engine.
“Next year I want to be standing here on stage showing some really interesting apps that you built,” he said.