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March 11, 2005

Breakfast Series on MSN Search

One of the myriad benefits of working at Microsoft is the "Breakfast Series" of talks from executives. Not only do they serve Krispy Kreme donuts, but you get some decent insider scoop.

Today I went to hear Christopher Payne, VP of MSN Search, talk about status and future plans. Nothing earth-shattering, but it was interesting to see him point out some of the features of Search. For example did you know it can solve equations? Which reminds me that it still somehow feels like magic when you actually plug in the value for x. I mean sure, you learn how to solve (x^2 - 5x + 6) = 0, of course it's x = 2 and x = 3. But then you actually plug it in...9 - 15 + 6 is 0! 4 - 10 + 6 is 0! Incredible.

Anyway, Payne also pointed us to the MSN Sandbox, where Microsoft has some beta toys like the MSN Newsbot. MSN Search is also doing some tie-ins to the NCAA basketball tourney, where you can type team and player names to get stats and scores, but I'm not sure how you get to that (perhaps it's not publicly available yet).

At one point during the demo Payne unintentionally showed us directions to his boss's house. Search really is powerful! I wonder what the threat model for a search engine is like. Maybe you have Information Non-Disclosure threats.

Posted by AdamBa at March 11, 2005 02:50 PM

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