Bing Does App Indexing

May 22, 2015

I am one of the few people who use my smartphone to make calls and respond to the text instructions from my wife. I am not into apps. I have a nice, multi screened desktop computer which allows me to do what I need and want to do. I am in the minority, and I quite like it that way.

I read “Make Apps Stand Out in Search with App Linking.” I suppose if I needed an app, I would want to be able to locate the candidate software for my consideration. Once I locate a suitable app, I want to read reviews and maybe—not very often—but maybe load a trial version to see if the app actually “apps.” I just submitted one of my for fee columns and titled it “In App or Inept.” The reason? Apps are not exactly the type of software I want to use.

Remember. I work at a desk, three monitors, 13 computers/servers, two high speed data connections, VPNs, and software my team and I built. Apps are not what meet my needs. But there are many attention challenged, entitlement fueled younger folks who are into the “app” thing. I think that most apps are inappropriate for the type of work I do and perhaps other folks should actually do.

I don’t telework or telecommute. I actually work, answer the phone, and produce outputs. Some of the outputs are software like Overflight and Augmentext. Others are outputs like this article pointing out that apps are programs which perform a limited set of functions. For the mobile, telecommuter, concentration deprived, and ever to busy knowledge worker, apps are the cat’s pajamas.

Bing is not going to permit app discovery. I would be happier if Bing did these things:

  1. Indexed more substantive content
  2. Eliminated the need for me to search Microsoft research and Bing for information
  3. Provided an interface which allowed me to concentrate on relevant results
  4. Improved relevance
  5. Provided meaningful ways to present data; for example, time sort, date content added to the index, and other pre-pre diluvium operations.

I chuckled at this diagram:


I have zero idea what the diagram is supposed to mean. I know that when I tested a Lumia Windows phone, I could not locate apps. The sparseness of information was a turn off. Hey, how tough is it to provide a link to the developer’s Web site? Obviously pretty tough.

The Bing enhancements are part of the “deep linking” craze. The idea is that an app does something and data are usually needed for that something. To allow the app to spit out a result, which may or may not be what the user wants, the app “goes to another Web site” or “to a database”. What’s going on is a dumbing down and conveniencing up of information access. Perfect for a user with an attention span less than a goldfish’s and the reading skill of a bright sixth grader.

How does this work? Well, you use code like this:


Don’t worry. Your eyes are not failing. The code snippet was illegible on the Bing blog Web page. New president, same old Microsoft. Enchanting.

Here’s the passage I highlighted in Microsoft blue:

We’re also already in the process of bringing this apps and actions intelligence to Bing and Bing-powered search results including Cortana and Windows 10 and we will have more to share later. In fact, look for an upcoming post on how we will start applying this to our results soon.

Okay, can’t wait. Watch for my in app or in ept article in Information Today. Nah, never mind. You already know that I prefer substantive information access. App finding is a tiny part of the content universe. I want more progress on the more substantive information which is increasingly difficult to find. Use Bing to locate Babak Parviz’s work at Microsoft on the bionic contact lens. Now use Bing to track Dr. Parviz from Google to Amazon. Let me know how that works out for you. Is there an app for that with deep linking no less?

Stephen E Arnold, May 22, 2015


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