Redmond, Washington -- In a stunning move to keep pace with its competitors, software maker Microsoft is revealing a new way for users to search, recently said that it plans to launch its fall update for its Xbox 360 game console, along-with a significant number of relevant content partnerships, complete with voice search via Xbox Kinect, this week or by early 2012.
In what is dubbed as the “future of entertainment search,” the software giant Microsoft, shortly after midnight on Sunday night, said that the “Bing on Xbox” update would arrive on U.S. consoles beginning “tomorrow,” and roll out to U.S. console owners over the coming weeks.
In fact, this is just one of many innovative features coming to Xbox. The company made a big “future of TV” announcement for the Xbox 360. This novel update would enable users to search your TV's guide for shows and movies, spanning broadcast TV, and find content across Netflix, Hulu Plus, Comcast Xfinity on Demand, HBO Go, Zune, and other programs on Xbox Live.
Also, this includes a group of new apps aimed at boosting the entertainment potential of the console. Bing on Xbox is part of the latest dashboard on Xbox and begins unfurling today. While the voice commands use the Xbox Kinect interface, but those without a Kinect peripheral would still be able to search using Bing text search or an add-on.
“Bing on Xbox introduces living room entertainment the same way search engines opened up the web,” says Bing GM Mike Nichols. “When you think about the state of entertainment, there is not a lack of selection, the challenge is finding what you want in a timely manner. Now when you say “Xbox, Bing, Star Trek,” Bing will show you all the available options for the movies, music, games, on-demand TV and apps that match that title.”
“Our objective with these innovative features like Bing on Xbox is to make Bing available in convenient and intuitive ways that take advantage of the capabilities of your device,” adds Nichols. “You can see this today with features like: voice search on Bing for Mobile, implicit search such as Local Scout on Windows Phone, the ability to search using your phone's camera with Bing Vision, and touch/contextual search through the Lasso feature on the Bing for iPad. With Bing on Xbox, we are introducing a more intelligent way to search on the TV. And as a result, you can spend more time enjoying your entertainment, and far less time hunting for it.”
Of course, who would not want to just say “Xbox, Bing X-Men,” and have Bing search and display all the available entertainment options from games to any of the “X-Men” movies? For example, if you want to watch X-Men, you can simply say, “Xbox Bing X-Men” and Bing will pull up all X-Men related games and movies stored in your console. You can then say “Xbox Play X-Men” to start playing the movie.
“This is our perception for the future of TV--effortless, accessible, because TV is more thrilling when you are the controller,” Marc Whitten, vice president of Xbox Live, said in June.
Moreover, it is easy to get numb to the magic of voice recognition, but searching for TV and movie content on your TV simply by speaking is still pretty incredible. The voice search functionality, first revealed in June, will work with both the Xbox Live Marketplace, Zune Video, and selected content partners. On Dec. 6, presumably the date of the update, Microsoft plans to add content from new entertainment partners, including apps, from EPIX, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and MSNBC's Today.
Interestingly, Microsoft also disclosed dozens of content agreements, which will roll out in a staggered schedule worldwide. For the United States, Microsoft will follow its Dec. 6 content agreements with others later in December, including Crackle, Clear Channels' iHeartRadio, TMZ, UFC on Xbox Live, Verizon FiOS, VEVO, and Wal-Mart's Vudu. Microsoft also said that it would provide DailyMotion to 32 countries and Google's YouTube to 24 countries, presumably including the United States.