Microsoft is beginning to integrate this week Bing into one of its most popular products, the Xbox 360 with a free software update. This special update will allow Xbox Live users (with Kinect) the possibility for voice search within their Xbox contents and within many leading entertainment brands like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, ESPN and even YouTube.
In a post from Bing Search Blog, the Bing team is announcing that from tomorrow (December 6th), Bing voice search will be available in Xbox only in the US, Canada and the UK in English at first and the plan is to spread out internationally somewhere next year. The voice search service will begin with few of Microsoft’s entertainment partners and will gradually expand to more in the upcoming months (see the full expansion plan in Microsoft’s press release).
Big Opportunity For Bing
Microsoft isn’t hiding its aspirations for the project: “Bing on Xbox opens up living room entertainment the same way search engines opened up the web.” It isn’t a secret that combining the internet with the TV holds a tremendously great potential which other companies like Apple and Google are also trying to push forward. Therefore, the integration with a search engine (Bing in this case) seems natural and necessary.
Bing would definitely receive a great advantage by entering this “web TV” area directly to an already strong and established base (at least 57 million people worldwide according to Microsoft). Moreover, Bing needs to infiltrate and brand itself with younger age audiences which mostly are using Google and Xbox users are the perfect crowd for that purpose. So it can be a great opportunity for Microsoft/Bing to grab some search engine market share (it so much needs) from Google.
At any case, this is probably opening up a very interesting new technology race for the “web TV”. You can impress from the new Bing voice search for Xbox yourself in this live demonstration video taken from Microsoft E3 2011 Press Conference: