As much as I found Microsoft’s approach towards Windows Phone 7 refreshing, I was skeptical of such a bold approach toward its Phone OS. Since its launch Windows Phone 7 has evolved, its impressive to see a pattern of consistency while it scaled up the feature set (from the No-Do update to Mango Update). The biggest revelation of Windows Phone 7 for me is
- Its not the Operating System but its what one does with it and how elegantly one can get things done.
- Windows Phone 7 is less about the OS and more about how you tie all the experiences/services into a unique flow events to achieve a task.
- App Connect, The People Hub, The Live tiles, Threads, Groups, Local Scouts, Games Hub, Music+Video Hub are unique to WP7.
The uniqueness of the above features is that all of them are focused on a task at hand. If we look closely, its interesting to see that WP7 has partnered tightly with services like Facebook, Twitter to bring those experiences to the core of Operating System experience. I don’t want to get into the details of how each of these features work, but just think of it as a bringing down the richness available in each of these services to the heart of Operating System. (unlike throwing in 10 different apps/services with out any logical connection between them)
The more closely I look at Windows Phone 7 and the design philosophy behind it, the more similarities I see between WP7 and Bing! Yes that right Bing search engine. So lets try to understand Bing Search, what exactly is Bing’s approach to search?
- Its not about which search engine one uses, Its not about the 10 blue links returned by the search engine to a query. Its about what you do with those results to get things done.
- Bing search engine is less about site results and more about how the search engine ties in unique services/web experiences into a quick summary or collective intelligence of aggregated data, to achieve a purpose.
- Bing’s Flight Price Predictor, Visual Search, Bing Places, Bing Social Search (Facebook Integration), Bing’s Live Tiles (in association with web partners)
If we take a holistic view of Bing search engine, it has been about Search Experience and partnerships. Just like Windows Phone 7, Bing search has been about services and collective intelligence of richness over the web baked into core search experience (unlike the 10 blue links on screen approach) . In way Bing & Windows Phone 7 are quite similar, both of them are task focused. On the phone it was a melange of applications/services tied together, on the search engine it was services/partner data fused closely. Considering how both similar both the design philosophies are, its only natural to see them being fused to give a unique central smart phone experience .
We have not seen such an approach towards Web Search or Phone Operating system (like Bing or WP7) often in the past. I think this is one such example of bold experimentation, if proven successful could force us to rethink the design principles & philosophies of other products like operating systems etc.
So did the Age of Integrated Experience of Services/Applications Arrive?