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Looks like all the hoopla Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) made when signing Drake as a performer at its Bing event may have been all for naught — there’s nary a hipster in West Hollywood’s SoHo House. Kidding aside, SVP Yusuf Mehdi unveiled, as expected, improved results for entertainment search queries. The main goal of these new offerings, Mehdi said simply, is “if you can type it you can do it.”
Though there was no new information about the new features coming to the Bing iPhone app — including visual scanning and social network integration — Mehdi went into a detailed explanation of what Bing is (a search engine), what it aims to achieve (get more users) and how it aims to do so (with more relevant info on search queries). Some highlights of the improved features:
— Music: The demo search for Demi Lovato showed a brief bio, upcoming concert times, links to song lyrics and the Disney (NYSE: DIS) star’s Twitter feed. Clicking on the play button next to one of the listed songs resulted in a small pop-up window of a Zune player. Users can stream songs and purchase them from iTunes, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Zune with one click.
— TV: Roughly 65 percent of people have gone online to find out when a TV show is playing, Mehdi says. How does this statistic factor into the new Bing? A search for Entourage, for example, showed at the top local listings for the next two weeks as well as streaming episodes and a comprehensive list of all TV shows. There are over 1,500 shows and 20,000 full TV episodes available, thanks to partners like Hulu, Viacom (NYSE: VIA) and CBS (NYSE: CBS). Users can invite friends to watch using Facebook and Twitter.
— Movies: Showtimes, recent news, trailers and relevant links pop up when searching a movie title. At first glance it’s similar to a Google search. Click through the Map page and you’ll see it’s, well, even more similar to Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Click through the features of the map and then you’ll see where Bing shines. Bing boasts a more detailed map, showing a zoom-in hi-res street view.
— Gaming: A search for Halo showed first the official site, videos and cheat codes. Search for Blackjack and within two clicks you can play a web-based game without having to register.