There are 4.2 million users in Portugal registered with Microsoft Live services. Of these, 3.5 million are users of the company’s instant messaging service and 3.9 million users of the free email service, Hotmail.
The figures refer to the month of March and were shared by Nuno Alves Silva, director of the Consumer & Online Business Unit at Microsoft Portugal. The official explains that the use of online services locally has maintained a steady growth, but also admits that the focus on localized content has contributed positively to a greater use of the manufacturer’s online channels, which has gradually been expanding its presence on the Internet and the provision of services in this area.
The bet on local content in Portuguese allowed, as Nuno Silva advances, that the Iocal page of MSN, in one year, doubled the number of page views, exemplifies. The monitoring of the channel has since led to some conclusions and to realize that the content aimed at the female audience and entertainment are preferred by Portuguese users, so it is in this sense that the company intends to evolve the offer.
Bing and the services associated with it have been another area with some local developments, in the field of Internet offers. The Bing Maps that the company develops combining images and content from professional partners and users already won the final version of Photosynth this year.
Developed by Microsoft laboratories, the technology allows users to upload several photos of the same location on the map platform and print volumetry and a 3D environment.
The offer is already used by private individuals (who, from or outside Portugal, have contributed to increasing the number of images available about the country), but Microsoft expects it to be more and more for companies, which have a tool here for highlight your business on the platform, with images of the interior of a restaurant, a store, etc.
At this and other levels, companies in each country will be a central element in enriching the online platform and its ability to attract users’ attention. To the proactive initiatives of users – individuals and companies – Microsoft is therefore adding some partnerships that accelerate the offer of content of local interest. This is the case of the traffic information provided by Estradas de Portugal, which added the contents of the Estradas service to the platform.
Maps is still made – it is actually the basis of the offer – of several views that provide more or less approximate images of the ground, depending on whether it is selected by the user, country, region, city or neighborhood. The so-called bird eye is currently the one that provides clearer images of what is at ground level and also the most popular with Portuguese users.
Bing will become decision engine
As determined by Microsoft’s road map when it launched Bing worldwide. The United States takes the lead in the process of making all the service’s features fully available, which the company insists on considering a «decision engine», as opposed to a simple «search engine».
In the company’s home country, the process is practically completed. In Portugal – where there is still no set date for the full launch of Bing – there are still some steps to be taken so that, in addition to research, Bing reaches the remaining dimensions it proposes.
Along this path are some steps, such as the optimization of search engines taking into account linguistic and cultural factors, maps or the ability to respond more intelligently to questions from those who use the service. Another shortcoming still to be filled is the availability of several research areas that previously filter the results to be searched for the service. Travel, shopping, news, are some examples working in the international version.
Cristina A. Ferreira