Microsoft is adding video images to its Bing search home page, as of September 23.
For now, the video support will be shown only to those using some HTML5-compliant browsers, and only to those in the U.S. (Users are reporting that the new video images don't display on the HTML5 Internet Explorer 9 Mobile browser in the Mango Windows Phone update, nor on Internet Explorer 10 in the Windows 8 Developer Preview.) Microsoft officials are saying international rollouts of the new HTML5 video imagery will be starting over the "next several months."
Microsoft officials said they aren't going to be using video on the Bing home page every day; it will happen when the mood strikes the home page team. For those who prefer still images, displaying the Like button and hotspots, Microsoft is allowing them to switch off the video image. (Guidelines for this can be seen in the comments by user "Tagus.")
In other Bing-related news, Microsoft re-announced its Bing Deals program on September 23. Microsoft originally announced the program in March of this year. It's still a U.S. only program that aggregates "more than 200,000 deals across the U.S." (It seems like the re-announcement is to remind folks who've been reading about the slow death of deals sites that Bing isn't throwing in the towel in this space.) Update: The Bing Deals program seems as though it's focused on 12 U.S. cities and is the loyalty program associated with it is considered a beta only. And as SearchEngine Land notes, the re-release today seems to be due to the fact that Microsoft has replaced its original Bing Deals partner, The Dealmap, which was subsequently acquired by Google.
Bing also announced earlier this week new "Action Buttons" -- buttons for common actions taken across seven different categories, including airlines, couriers (e.g. FedEx), restaurants, banks, rental cars, software downloads and hotels -- that take users to sub-pages to help them more quickly complete their tasks.
Also: For those who were wondering whether there would be any Microsoft-related component to Facebook's f8 "open graph" and Timeline announcements, LiveSide.Net managed to find one: "One of the filters available in Timeline is Maps, which can show all the places you’ve been (and shared on Facebook) on a Bing Map embedded in Facebook’s Timeline, or on Facebook’s new sidebar, called 'Ticker.'" At some point Facebook-investor Microsoft, no doubt, also will be taking advantage of all those new over-sharing application programming interfaces (APIs) that Facebook announced this week. I, for one, am hoping there's a very visible "spare me" button as all of this rolls out.
Finally, I nominate this tidbit from Google's written testimony, released prior to Chairman Eric Schmidt's appearance before the Senate Judiciary committe this week as the "Can you believe s/he said that" quote of the week:
"Microsoft’s Bing launched in June 2009 and has grown so rapidly that some commentators have speculated that it could overtake Google as early as 2012."
All's fair in love and antitrust hearings. You just can't make this stuff up.