Microsoft will unveil new features next week to enhance the Bing search engine's capabilities to search for entertainment-related content, specifically in areas such as music, television, movies and online games.
The announcement will be made on Tuesday by Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's Online Audience Business, at a press conference in West Hollywood, California, according to an invitation Microsoft sent to journalists.
The goal is to significantly beef up Bing's handling of entertainment-related queries, an area that draws much interest from users, along with other "verticals" such as health, travel and shopping that Microsoft will also strengthen in the near future, according to people familiar with the plans.
For example, TV search results will get enhanced with programming listings and with the ability to stream episodes from the search engine user interface, these people said.
Likewise, music searches will return richer and more extensive information about artists, concerts and songs, including lyrics, and a music player will let users play back tunes on Bing, these people said. Users will also get options to purchase music.
Movie queries will return smarter results with information about local showtimes and critic reviews, while gaming enthusiasts will get specialized tools to discover games, view ratings and access overall game information in a central, consolidated place.
Some of the new entertainment-search capabilities involve deals and partnerships with other companies, as Microsoft continues its attempts to put up stronger competition in search against market leader Google, these people said.
Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The press conference will be followed by an event about the future of entertainment, hosted by TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest and featuring a panel discussion and musical performances.
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