The Power of Bing
Derrick Connell is a Microsoft vice president in charge of the engineering side of the 4,000-person team that builds the company’s Bing web search. And he has to do homework every weekend; among his tasks are reviewing queries people type into the search boxes at Google.com and Bing.com (Connell’s team has spliced and narrowed down the infinite variety of possible search requests into 40 areas (like news or nearby places. Then those categories are further narrowed down into 152 sub-segments). Within the categories, Bing has displayed more helpful results; in some, Google’s the clear winner.
By one measure, Bing (launched on June 1st, 2009) now executes a record 1 out of every 5 searches made on desktop computers in the U.S. , a milestone Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella declared in April 2015 in a meeting with Wall Street analysts. But Bing’s international standing and its status regarding fast-growing mobile search, is a fraction of that. Nevertheless, executives and outside observers say that Bing has gone from not being taken seriously to a tool comparable to Google’s in terms of its technology (Microsoft has integrated Bing’s underlying data-crunching technology into its other software and plans to tie it closely to its Windows 10 operating system). “There was a time when Bing launched that it was almost embarrassing, “ said Danny Sullivan, founding editor of Search Engine Land and a longtime industry observer. “Even Bing people would tell you they were kind of embarrassed.”
Can Microsoft leverage Bing’s changing perception into a profit or seriously challenge Google’s top status? It remains to be seen, but the bottom line is: The technology has vastly improved, Sullivan said. “Now it’s a credible alternative to Google.” (Source: “Bing finding its way on Web”-The Seattle Times (TNS)-The (Sunday) Vindicator, May 31, 2015).
In 1995, Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban (yes, that Mark Cuban) debuted the startup Broadcast.com. Four years later, it was sold to Yahoo for $5.7 billion dollars; it was also the first broadcast network on the Internet.
Now Wagner’s working harder than ever, hoping to strike tech gold again, but this time, with potential earnings going for and to good causes. With his new website, Chideo (The name comes from a combination of the words charity and video; it’s an interactive broadcast network that features exclusive content by celebrities who want to promote their favorite nonprofits), he wants to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for charities. “Our goal is big and bold,” Wagner said. “It’s a heavy lift. But it became clear to me that if it was going to have any chance to succeed, I was going to have to go at 100 percent.”
In exchange for seeing exclusive videos and building stronger fan bases, the celebrities get to raise money for their particular charities (for example, Rainn Wilson (“The Office”), works with the Mona Foundation, which supports educational initiatives for girls across the globe; He joined Chideo “because it’s a simple, slam-dunk idea. Share a video with fans and help raise money for a great cause. What’s not to like?”) The charities receive 80 cents for every dollar raised; Chideo gets 20 cents to build, operate and support the system with technology, promotions, sales, marketing and creative production.
Wagner has sunk millions of dollars into Chideo (launched on Jan. 28, 2014) and will spend millions more before traffic to the site kicks in and revenue starts to flow from video-on-demand, donations, commericials, sponsorships, sweepstakes and syndication. His long-term goal is to break even: “It’s an awful business model. I’ll be the first to admit that,” Wagner said. “No business gives away 80 percent of its revenue. That’s crazy. But I’m in a very different place in my life. It’s OK. I’m going to be all right. This is my way to give back.”
Most people are not aware that Mark Cuban even had a business partner; yet Wagner and Cuban have been in business for 21 years (as of 2016). The duo currently co-own 2929 Entertainment, and Wagner is the CEO. “What I love about Todd, beyond his heart and the fact that he is just a really, really good guy, is his ability to connect to people,” Cuban said. “While I’m always going 200 miles an hour, Todd is going to make sure he sits and connects to you, which is why he and Chideo are such a great match. He is taking tech, celebrity and matching it with charity. And it’s been powerful and successful.” (Source: “A better way to raise money?”-Dallas Morning News-The (Sunday) Vindicator, June 22, 2014).