Of interest: ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley spoke with Satya Nadella, in charge of the Search & Advertising Platform Group, in her post today What’s next on Microsoft’s search agenda? ...

"Nadella, who was named as the head of Microsoft’s combined Search and Ad Platform Group in March 2007, also is shepherding his team through a planned fall Search update, as well as an upcoming Spring search refresh. Nadella said his goal is to do a major search refresh twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, for the foreseeable future. In between these updates, Microsoft will continue to roll out incremental search improvements, such as the new facial-detection search functionality it recently added to its Live Image Search.

"Nadella said the areas where Microsoft can innovate in search fall into three primary buckets:

1. Core: Microsoft will improve search relevance — not just by tweaking the search algorithm, but also by tuning the data platform and mining, he said. “We believe we can compete with anyone on relevance,” Nadella said.

2. User Experience: Microsoft has 55 million searchers. (Google has twice that many, according to Nadella.) The question is “how to get searchers to search more with us,” Nadella said. Promotions like the give-aways by the Live Search Club are hardly the only strategy Microsoft has up its sleeve here.

3. Integration: Microsoft also is working to integrate its search results, search application-programming interfaces (APIs) and search engine into existing Microsoft properties. This means everything from integrating Local Search with Microsoft Outlook, to making Live Search the engine that powers Office Live, Nadella said. “We have a set of APIs today that you can take, and (you can) use our search results with any other property or application,” he said."

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