Bing recently introduced its updated people search feature and today, Microsoft is adding a few improvements to its people search that will make it even easier to find information about celebrities, politicians, athletes and many people with public LinkedIn profiles. Bing’s search box now auto-suggests names as you type. Because many people share the same name, this also means that it’s now easier to tell Bing who exactly you are looking for before you even hit the return key.
According to the Bing team, about 10 percent of searches on Bing are currently about people. This makes it the second most important search category on the service, right after navigational queries.
Microsoft has invested heavily in improving its people search and other semantic search features on the site, which now compete directly with Google’s Knowledge Graph. Bing’s Satori Entity Engine powers all of these features, which are typically revealed in Bing’s Snapshots bar (that is, in between the regular web links on the left and the social sidebar on the right).
In many ways, Satori’s mission is akin to Google’s Knowledge Graph, as it aims to help Microsoft understand more about the world. As Microsoft’s director of online services Stefan Weitz told me when the company released its last update to Satori, Google’s Knowledge Graph is a “kick-ass encyclopedia,” but Bing wants to go a step further and make all of this information “actionable.”
This new update, Microsoft notes in today’s announcement, was co-developed by its Search Technological Center (STC-E) in London in close collaboration with the User Experience team in Bellevue, Wash.
Read this article: Bing Improves Its People Search With Autosuggest
Foursquare has taken its fair share of flack lately, as the company rolls into its fourth year in business. Some claim the company’s userbase had stagnated; others claim that the company lacks a sustainable business model.
After denying the negative user base claims earlier today, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley went on clarify that they do have a business model in place — in fact, March was their biggest revenue month to date.
I think there are a lot of people that think we don’t know how to generate revenue, that we aren’t generating revenue. This is wrong… We’ve been building merchant tools all along. We’ve seen revenue growth every month, and March was our biggest revenue month so far.
As for how that revenue is coming in:
We’re signing six-figure deals with national merchants. We’ve already got a million merchants claiming their business page — we can just say ‘Would you like to spend $50, $100 dollars to drive X number people into your store?” These aren’t just ad impressions they’re paying for. We only count when we actually bring people into your store.
Alas, Dennis declined to comment on just how much total revenue Foursquare expects to see in 2013.
“We’re a private company, so we don’t have to disclose our master plans to you” he said, “but we’ve set ambitious goals for the year, and we’re very much on target to hit them.”
“The numbers aren’t huge yet, but they’re starting to come together.” he added. “The smartest people we talk to… they can understand what we’re doing. There’s a reason that all four of our original investors are back in.”
But what’s Foursquare’s long-term goal here? Will they eventually go public? Will they sell?
We never really comment on exit strategy. The way we think about it: we spent 4 years building an amazing company. While we’re still working out exactly what this product can do, we’re in this sweet spot where people are finally building this hardware that you wear on your wrist, that you wear on your face. [That's perfect for us.] We can continue to operate as an independent company.
Google appears to be testing a new design for its various websites which completely removes the black navigation bar at the top. The change follows a separate test in which Google replaced the navigation bar with a menu similar to the one found in Chrome OS.
While the latter has its advantages, we don’t understand the former: why would Google completely removing the navigation bar? It’s currently the only element that links its various Web services together.
Here’s what the Google.com homepage looks like now for almost everyone (we’re seeing the same design on the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer):
Here’s what it looks like in the latest Canary build (“the most bleeding-edge official version of Chrome” according to Google):
The navigation bar is not present whether you are signed in or not, and is still not there even after you search (if it reappeared, that would make a little more sense to us):
Again, this isn’t limited to just Google.com. On Canary, it happens on all of Google’s services. Here’s Gmail:
Google loves tweaking its homepage design to keep it as minimal as possible. Yet this changer clearly sacrifices functionality for form.
As we’ve already mentioned, this is the odder of the two redesigns Google has been testing this year. Last month, as pointed out by Google Operating System, the company was experimenting with a new navigation bar that looks to be borrowed from Chrome OS:
This screenshot is for Google.com, though we have no information as to what browser it was accessed from (though Canary seems likely). It’s also unclear if the option appeared across all of Google’s services or just the homepage.
We can understand Google replacing the navigation bar with a menu button: it saves horizontal space and works well with the goal of keeping things minimal. That being said, it adds a click to every action.
Still, it could be good for mobile: the menu button might be better for touch-only devices, the sites could load faster since Google can choose to only load the navigation section when the user needs it, and again it’s a more minimal design.
Yet we’re not seeing a navigation bar nor a navigation menu. It’s an odd change, to say the least, and we hope Google has a good reason for it. We just can’t figure out what that might be.
Image credit: AFP/Getty Images
San Francisco’s Flurry initially got its reach through offering a basic package of analytics that more than 95,000 different developers snapped up.
But as the iOS and Android ecosystems have matured, app makers are getting more sophisticated. The biggest ones often juggle 30 to 40 ad networks and marketing channels, and need to understand which ones perform the best.
So Flurry’s rolling out user acquisition and crash analytics today. The company’s crash analytics lets developers get automatic alerts on new errors and common crashes. They can then diagnose where these errors are originating from with full stack traces including symbolication.
The company’s user acquisition analytics helps app marketers understand how much they’re spending for users on different cost-per-click and cost-per-install advertising campaigns and e-mail marketing campaigns. They can evaluate the users they get through these different channels based on how long they end up staying with an app, how often they engage with it or how much they spend on it.
Both are free and are part of the same analytics SDK that developers regularly use. The user acquisition or marketing analytics are available now on both platforms, but crash analytics is in beta for Android and will come out for iOS later this month.
In crash analytics, Flurry faces off against Crashlytics, which Twitter recently acquired. In user acquisition analytics, Apsalar’s ApScience looks at marketing campaigns to see how effective they are. Similarly, there are a host of game-centric service providers like Chartboost and Playhaven that may veer in this direction as well this year.
Flurry build its crash analytics solution with Plausible Labs, which is the creator of the Open Source PLCrashReporter, already relied upon by thousands of developers. Flurry says it improved that reporting solution, by no longer requiring developers to keep track of dSYM files, implement custom configurations that include symbols and increase the size of their app to get actionable crash reports.
As for the company itself, Flurry recently took $25 million in funding led by Crosslink Capital, the late-stage firm that backed Pandora ahead of its offering. The company, which has been around since 2007, used analytics to cultivate relationships with thousands of developers, which they later parlayed into an advertising business that now produces about $80 to $100 million in revenue every year.
Today’s watch porn comes courtesy of Roger Dubuis, a manufacturer of odd timepieces. Their latest, the Quatour (which kind of sounds like a character from Total Recall), is a watch with four separate escapements that average each other out as the watch is worn. It’s very weird.
The watch is absolutely massive – about 48mm from stem to stern – and the weird escapement system is designed to ostensibly improve accuracy. The theory is that when a watch is worn gravity tends to pull down different parts differently. The escapement is the part of the watch that flips back and forth to drive the watch hands forward one tick at a time (check this out to understand it better). To account for gravity, tourbillon watches spin the escapement 360 degrees. This watch, on the other hand, just has four escapements and a differential gear to “average” their movements. It basically “ticks” four times, making an oddly pleasing, organic sound.
You can read a full hands on over here or just marvel that this thing costs about $400,000 and is limited to 88 pieces. An all-silicon version costs a cool $2 million.