Robert Andrews at paidContent.org reports an organizational change in Microsoft’s Search Business Group:
Microsoft is restructuring its Search Business Group to add a new group geared toward commercial search. It’s picked Multimap CEO Jeff Kelisky to be GM of this new Commercial Search unit, which covers Live Search cashback, MSN Shopping, local, consumer mapping, Virtual Earth and mobile. It’s part of the big plan to improve the performance of Live as a search and advertising platform. Kelisky will report to Search Business Group GM Brad Goldberg in Redmond but will remain based in London.
Goldberg: “We are increasing our focus on commercial search, including changes to the search leadership team and engineering team and in order to lead this market we need to bring all find, explore and commerce needs together. (Jeff) will direct this team to ensure Microsoft continues to innovate and deliver so that consumers choose us to find local information and services.” Goldberg said Kelisky understood particularly how to navigate search, local services, business search and mobile.
Windows Live Shopping launched in beta in April, 2006 as a version of MSN Shopping with a spiffed up interface. Now Chris at LiveSide reports that the shutters are going up and erstwhile shoppers will be redirected to MSN:
From today Windows Live Shopping beta will be taken offline, with users being sent to MSN Shopping, available at shopping.msn.com. This appears to be part of the ongoing self-correcting process taking place on Windows Live, occurring as a result of various MSN products being moved over to the new Windows Live brand in 2006, without much thought being given to their long-term future.
No word on whether Microsoft will discard the Live interface or adopt it on MSN.
There’s more by following the link including a pointer to last Friday’s news that one of my least favorite Windows Live services, Windows Live Connection Center Wi-Fi , is going to be moved under the MSN brand as well. The good news is that “MSN” is considerably shorter than “Windows Live.” The bad news is the continuing train wreck that is Windows Live and MSN branding and marketing.
Exemplifing all that online services investment that has Wall Street upset, Microsoft today launched a beta of Windows Live Shopping at shopping.live.com:
Today we launch the brand new Windows Live Shopping site!
What is it? It is the beta launch of Microsofts Web 2.0 shopping experience, featuring one of the worlds largest product catalogs, user-created content and an easier-to-use interface built on 100% AJAX technology. It uses a unified shopping engine to search or browse almost 40 million products from 7,000 stores ranging from many of the countrys leading retailers to eBay. Results are displayed in an order that is not affected by advertising; merchants cannot pay to have their items show up closer to the top. Users will be able to drag-and-drop items to a shopping list and share lists with friends; see user reviews of products and sellers; and read and create public shopping guides on any subject.
If you consider shopping a team sport, apparently more Web 2.0 social networking is on the way:
What is our vision? In the future, Windows Live Shopping will continue to offer the great comparison shopping services you see today, while also integrating more social and community features that will enable users to better research, share, and have fun with their shopping experiences.
Since online shopping is not exactly a new category, the test will be to see if the new features draw a crowd.
LiveSide has been reporting that two new variants of Windows Live Search are on the way and Microsoft’s public relations firm Waggener Edstrom has confirmed it.
Windows Live Product Search is apparently a rival to Google’s Froogle offering in providing shopping searches on product and price. Of course, this also competes with the multitude of shopping engines from Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, other specialized providers and not to be forgotten, MSN Shopping and Windows Live Shopping. Presumably there will be some sort of link up with the latter.