today announced the final updates to the fall release of its Live Search
service, introducing a broad array of new services and features to its local and
mobile search offerings.
The new features and enhancements are designed to make it easier for people to
find what they need at home or on the go through significant innovations in
mapping, imagery and driving directions as well as new services to make the
mobile search experience easy and powerful.
Microsoft also announced the availability of the Live Search 411 service.
Customers can gain toll-free access by dialing (800) CALL-411 (800-225-5411)
from any phone to find and connect to local businesses and other local
information, such as weather updates, movie show times and airline information.
People using a cell phone with Internet access can also receive links to
traffic maps from Live Search 411.
"Microsoft is building on several years of innovation in imagery and 3-D
visualization, adding some of the most significant innovations to driving
directions technology in the last several years and expanding how our
current 185 million customers can experience the improvements to the core of
Live Search to include access from a wider variety of clients, platforms and
devices," said Satya Nadella, corporate vice president of the Search &
Advertising Platform Group at Microsoft. "Collectively, these improvements
build on the work we did in core relevance and differentiated vertical
experiences, and are an important milestone in our efforts in delivering a
comprehensive, innovative search offering that includes mobile, mapping, Web
and local services for customers to find what they need, when they need it,
on any device."
Today's announcement comes on the heels of the release on Sept. 26 of several
new capabilities for Live Search, which included significant improvements in
relevance and coverage in the core Web search service and expanded the range and
depth of information available in areas where most customers were doing most of
their queries - entertainment, shopping, health and local searches.
Today's release offers these key features:
Maps and Directions
- Innovative driving directions. The new Live Search offers more accurate
and easy-to-use driving directions, including dynamic rerouting of
directions based on real-time traffic information, one-click directions that
allow drivers to get only essential directions to their destination with no
starting point needed, and inline hints that tell drivers if they have gone
too far based on local landmarks. Combined with new, one-page printing,
these new enhancements have taken driving directions to the next level.
- Innovative visualization and 3-D. Coverage of bird's-eye and 3-D imagery
has been increased to cover 80 percent of the U.S. population. In addition,
nearly 200 complete cities are available in 3-D, and customers can now
combine views of 3-D imagery with Live Search's unique 45-degree bird's-eye
images, giving a complete and detailed geolocation experience. In addition,
people who use Live Search Maps can create and share their own 3-D models of
buildings through an alliance with Dassault Systemes.
- Innovative local content index including user-generated content. The new
local search capabilities in Live Search include not only a broad set of
expert sources but also broad access to user-generated content from Live
Search and from across the entire Web, through searchable user-created
collections and Keyhole Markup Language (KML) support.
- Virtual Earth platform updates. The Virtual Earth platform is the
underlying technology behind well over 1,000 partner mapping solutions as
well as Live Search Maps. Updates in version 6.0 of Virtual Earth include
multipoint trip routing; enhanced geocoding that combines results for
multiple geocoders; rooftop geocoding, which provides more precise geocoding
results; map control support for Safari 2.0; and the release of MapCruncher
beta, making it easier to publish maps overlaid in an application using the
Virtual Earth map control. More details on the Virtual Earth platform can be
found at http://dev.live.com/virtualearth.
- Live Search for Windows Mobile with voice input. The updated Live Search
for Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6.0 will be available for download for free on
Tuesday, Oct. 16, and now includes voice input (beta version), gas prices,
and hours of operation for businesses. The service can also use Global
Positioning System (GPS) data on GPS-enabled phones to provide
location-aware local search for customers.
- Live Search 411. Jointly developed with Tellme Networks Inc., acquired
by Microsoft earlier this year, a new toll-free number will be available for
anyone using any kind of phone to access the power of Live Search. Users can
simply dial (800) CALL-411 (800-225-5411) and say the city and state, then
ask for the business or business category to hear a list of options. Users
say, "Connect me," to instantly connect to the business. Cell phone users
can ask for a text message with a link to a map of the business.
- Live Search for use with BlackBerry Devices. Live Search designed for
use with BlackBerry devices is in beta and will be available for download
for free on Tuesday, Oct. 16. It is a new offering designed for use on
BlackBerry OS 4.0.2 or later phones, and customers with GPS-enabled phones
can use location awareness to enhance their searches.
More information on the mobile offerings will be available at
Market availability for specific features varies. More information on these
updated features and services can be found on the following Microsoft team
However as with previous LiveSearch Mobile versions, also this version offer
support for United States and United Kingdom. Features and support of other
countries is more limited and might not include all the new features above.
Cheers ~ Arne