Microsoft Demo Fest Shows Off New Ideas, Reporter Not Impressed

Last month, Microsoft researchers from around the world showed off some of their most unique creations at the company’s TechFest 2009 event in Redmond. This month, a smaller group of Microsoft researchers took part in the 5th “Demo Fest” event — a smaller event that’s designed for researchers from adCenter Labs to show off their latest ideas.

The company let reporters in on Wednesday to see four of the new Demo Fest technologies, and the Seattle Times’ writer was not impressed.

“The demos I saw were not jaw-dropping. The concepts seemed to echo things we’d seen elsewhere or things I would have thought were already table stakes for advanced online advertising.”

Indeed, one of the four demos that reporter saw was a tool that tries to predict local search intent using the query and IP address of the searcher. In the Microsoft example, someone searching for “Seattle pizza” from a Seattle IP is likely to be doing a local search. If the same person searches for “Las Vegas hotel,” it means they may be traveling soon.

No wonder the Times reporter wasn’t bowled over; that’s about as basic as local search intent gets, and if Microsoft is still figuring that out, they have more catching up to do than I thought.

The three other tools Microsoft showed to reporters are:

  • Display Ad Tool — aims to make it easier and less expensive for small businesses to create online ads; this is already a pretty crowded space
  • Microsoft Gaze — aims to place more contextual ads via a pop-up widget tied to certain keywords in web page content
  • Gift Matching — a shopping search tool that uses Live Search query data to make gift recommendations; i.e., people who search for one product also search for other related products

According to the Times report, Microsoft says these are just ideas and may not become finished products.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Microsoft: Other Search

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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