How Skype Could Power Bing Forward

As Microsoft's Bing increasingly focuses on enabling search to "help you complete tasks," rather than simply "find stuff," Skype could become an important part of the user experience.

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We’ve written before about how Bing is trying to turn search into an app. Instead of forcing you to wade through a ton of blue links, when you’re looking to buy a movie ticket or make a restaurant reservation, for example, Bing surfaces a widget that lets you complete your task right there and then.

Microsoft’s purchase of Skype Tuesday could help push that vision ever forward. How often when you’ve searched online have you really only been looking for a telephone number? For customer support, so you can get help for a tech problem? For a hotel, so you can arrange for them to put a crib in your room?

And yet today, when you find that phone number in search, you probably have to still pick up your phone and dial by hand. How much more convenient would it be for you to be able to click on that number and simply place the call right from your computer (or tablet, or smartphone)? (Google is already making that happen in some cases.)

As Bing increasingly focuses on enabling search to "help you complete tasks," rather than simply "find stuff," that communication piece becomes an important part of the user experience. And now that it has Skype, Microsoft can complete that part of the puzzle.

As Microsft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a press conference Tuesday morning, "Everyone in the network and communications business knows the key to business acceleration is innovation in new scenarios. Our opportunity to do that together has been enhanced,” he said.

Read also: Bing to Lap Google in Making Search an App?

E.B. Boyd is FastCompany.com's Silicon Valley reporter. Twitter. Email.

[Image: Flickr user ajmexico]

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