Microsoft shoots for the stars with Bing update

by Ina Fried – June 22, 2010 6:37 PM PDT

The event, hosted at Soho House on Sunset Boulevard, got off to a late start thanks to LA traffic.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.–Microsoft is hosting a celebrity-laden event here on Tuesday, announcing a variety of new entertainment features it hopes will give Bing a little more star power.

In truly LA fashion, the event started late as reporters battled the southland traffic to get to the Soho House on Sunset Boulevard. However, Microsoft’s blog post with the news posted promptly at the 6 p.m. starting time.

According to that, Microsoft is adding casual games, more TV content as well as Zune music and lyrics to the service. Each of several million songs can now be played once for free, with 30-second samples available thereafter. Songs can also be purchased from Amazon, iTunes or Zune.

The event, meanwhile, just kicked off at 6:30 p.m. PT, with Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi talking about Bing’s history and showing a clip from the promotion Bing recently did with Stephen Colbert.

In the clip, Colbert notes that Bing is for real, adding that he knows that because he “Googled it.” Mehdi said that despite a 47 percent gain in market share, Microsoft knows it still faces an uphill challenge.

“It isn’t like people wake up and say dang, if only I had another search engine,” he said. “We’re definitely humbled about a lot of work we have to do.”

Turning to entertainment, Mehdi said that there is a huge opportunity around entertainment and search, noting that there are some 1.5 billion entertainment-related queries per month.

For more, follow this link to Cnet.com

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