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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

June 3, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Microsoft’s Qi Lu talks about Bing

bizqilu10.jpgUser intent, user intent, user intent.

That was the message Qi Lu, head of Microsoft’s online division, brought to his keynote this morning at SMX Advanced, a search marketing conference at Bell Harbor Conference Center that started Tuesday.

The keynote began with a television commercial for Microsoft’s upgraded search engine, Bing, which the company plans to air tonight. The ad jumps among several people asking search questions (“I want two tickets to paradise” is one.) in accelerating cuts that ends with the onscreen question, “What has search overload done to us?”

Lu then did a Q&A with Daniel Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land. Here are some excerpts of Lu’s comments at the event:

On the development of Bing:

“Bing as a product took a very distinct differential approach. What we would like to offer is rich and more organized user experience so we enable users to complete tasks more efficiently and make more informed decisions faster.”

On the future of search:

“if you have heavy R&D investment, if you have those infrastructure R&D, we will be able to model computationally user intent. The other important trend is the [shrinking] barrier for producing content. The Web gets richer and richer. It starts out with links, then there’s images, now you have Facebook and Twitter. We’re able to understand user intent very well over the next few years and Web gets richer and richer. You’re able to build user experience that’s vastly more compelling than today. While no one has a crystal ball on how future plays out, I firmly believe the best way to predict the future is to create one.”

On the brand name “Bing”:

“We have teams of experts going through very extensive processes looking at all the choices. We wanted something short, easy to pronounce, very easy to come up with URL. You want brand to be very accessible on the Internet. The brand also has to work well across the world.”

On how Microsoft, which has 8 percent of the search market, will gain market share against Google, which has 62 percent, according to most recent rankings from comScore:

“We believe search is still relatively very nascent. There is a whole lot more that can be done. The search experience in next few years can be a lot more compelling. The second, ultimately, the real strengths you compete in search space has to be based on strength of product, quality of experience. … Over time the best product will sell itself.”

On status of talks between Microsoft and Yahoo on a search partnership:

“The best person to ask that question is [AllThingsD’s blogger] Kara Swisher. Obviously I don’t think I can say anything beyond what’s out there. … It won’t be proper for me to speculate on what would happen, so I will just have to leave it to everybody’s imagination what would happen.”

(2008 Photo of Qi Lu: Marshall Miller/Microsoft)

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