There was a bit of a buzz in the technology world on Twitter yesterday as two new products were unveiled.
Microsoft announced their revamped search engine - Bing. With only 8% of the search market compared to Google's 64% they have a long way to go, but Microsoft are hopeful that some of its new features will capture a bigger market share. The main difference to its previous incarnation, Live Search,is that it has some contextual intelligence. A search for Cannes during the film festival for instance will give different results to if you search say at Christmas. It can find information related to the original search word, so for example a search for a product might also find product reviews, stockists, accessories. It's launched in the UK next week in a beta version and it will be interesting to see how it takes off. Google has found its way into our vocabulary as a verb, and I'm not sure that to Bing something has the same ring to it.
The another announcement is more interesting to me at least - it's Google Wave. This is Google's new collaboration service and is a combination of email, instant messaging and document, image, video and map sharing - all together in one environment. It's an open source product and Google have released it to the developer community with lots of API integrations, so expect a lot of applications developed for it. I spent a bit of time yesterday looking at it, and the best description I've found of it so far is here at Mashable, an excellent social media guide. It's worth a look. Headlines were starting to appear yesterday in the technology press suggesting that this could completely redefine web based communication and virtually replace existing email and chat services. This is one of the technologies we will need to watch, especially as we roll out Google services to our students. Unfortunately it won't be released to the public till later this year so I can't play with it till then!