Stanford University Department of Electrical Engineering
Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, February 1, 2006
HP Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B01

Search at Microsoft

Christopher Payne
Corporate VP of Search
Microsoft Corporation
About the talk:

The Search industry is growing at a very rapid rate. The industry is expected to generate hundreds of billions of queries a year from hundreds of millions of users, with a revenue potential of more than $10 billion a year by 2008.

Even at this very fast growth rate, the industry is in its infancy and is faced with technological challenges. It is commonly accepted that a good proportion of users' questions go unanswered on most search engines today, and searches often take a long time to finally produce an answer. Though the majority of the freely available information on the internet is indexed by search engines, the bulk of trusted information contained in books, magazines, databases, TV programs and other media sources are not a common part of the index. The relevancy of search results also has a long way to go. Natural language processing is yet to make a major impact in this area; human beings don't pose questions to others using less than two words, but that is the average length of a search query.

The issues outlined above are just a sample of the major challenges that are yet to be overcome in the Search industry. Christopher Payne, Corporate Vice President of MSN Search for Microsoft Corporation, will talk about the Search industry, the challenges it faces and Microsoft's approach to solving some of those challenges.


Download Christopher Payne's slides in Microsoft Powerpoint format.

About the speaker:

[Photo: ChristopherPayne]
Christopher Payne focuses on delivering the best search experience for its customers and helping them find the information that is important to them whether it is online or on their PC. His previous role was vice president of, where his team consisted of MSNR Search, the home page, MSN Autos, MSN Entertainment, MSNBC, Slate and the MSN Channels properties.

Payne rejoined Microsoft in 2001 after spending three years with, where he led the building of a number of groups within Amazon that focused on video, electronics, software and wireless. Before his stint at, Payne worked for eight years at Microsoft marketing four versions of Microsoft Access.

Payne earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Dartmouth College in 1990. Originally from Kentucky, he lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

Contact information:

Christopher Payne
Microsoft Coproration