Microsoft Releases New Search Services for Internet and Mobile Customers

Latest releases complete fall updates for Live Search service, including voice search and location-aware technology

REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 15, 2007 — Microsoft 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.

In addition, the company announced the availability of the Live Search 411 service wherein Microsoft will offer toll free access by dialing 1-800-CALL-411 from any phone to find and connect to local businesses and other local information, such as weather updates, movie show times, and airlines. People using a cell phone are able to also receive links to traffic maps from Live Search 411.

“Microsoft is building on several years of innovation in imagery and 3D visualization, adding some of the most significant innovations to driving directions 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 and 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 and on any device.” Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the initial release on Sept. 26 of several new capabilities for Live Search (available at Live Search), which included significant improvements in relevance and coverage in the core web search service, as well as 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 focused on the following key features:

Maps and directions:

· Best in class driving directions: The new Live Search offers accurate and easy-to-use driving directions, including dynamic re-routing of directions based on real time traffic information, one-click directions which allows drivers to get only essential directions to their destination with no starting point needed, and in-line hints where the directions service will tell you if you have gone too far based on local landmarks.

· Best in class visualization and 3D: Coverage of bird’s eye and 3D imagery has been increased to the point where 80% of the US population and over 50% of Europe are covered. In addition, nearly 200 complete cities are available in 3D, and customers can now combine views of 3D imagery with Live Search’s unique 45 degree bird’s eye images, giving a more complete and detailed geo-location experience than is offered by anyone else in the industry. In addition, people who use Live Search Maps can also create and share their own 3D models of buildings via a partnership with Dassault Systemes.

Most complete local content index including user generated content: The new local search capabilities in Live Search include not only the broadest 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 KML support.

Virtual Earth Platform Updates. The Virtual Earth Platform is the underlying technology behind well over a 1000 of our partners’ mapping solutions as well as Live Search Maps. Updates in version 6.0 of Virtual Earth include multipoint trip routing; enhanced geocoding combining results for multiple geocoders; rooftop geocoding resulting in 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 here: Windows Live Dev.

Mobile Enhancements

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 and now includes voice input (beta), gas prices, and hours of operation for businesses. The service can also utilize global positioning system (GPS) data on GPS-enabled phones to provide location-aware local search for customers.
Live Search 411: Jointly developed with Tellme, 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. Simply dial 1-800-CALL-411 and say the city and state, then ask for the business or business category to hear a list of options. Say “Connect Me,” to instantly connect to the business, or if using a cell phone, ask for a text message, and a link to a map of the business will be sent to your phone.

Live Search for BlackBerry. Live Search for BlackBerry is in beta and will be available for download for free on Tuesday. It is a new offering designed for the unique hardware and interaction of BlackBerry OS 4.0.2 or later phones, and customers with GPS-enabled phones can use location awareness to enhance their searches

Market availability for specific features varies. More information on these updated features and services can be found respectively on the following Microsoft team sites:Live Search Mobile, Live Search 411., Live Search, and Virtual Earth / Live Maps.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.