If you’ve noticed the beam of light in the sky …

(photo by Kurt Ricketts, added 12:15 am)
… it’s a publicity stunt for the new Microsoft search engine Bing. The Space Needle‘s supposedly lit up orange right now, along with the Pacific Science Center arches – but what you can see from almost anywhere, looking north (we just saw it while out on a walk here in Upper Fauntleroy), is a beam of light straight up into the sky alongside the Needle. Check out this webcam to see for yourself. 1:24 AM NOTE: Adding a second photo taken from West Seattle, this one courtesy of David Rosen from SlickPix Photography:

22 Replies to "If you've noticed the beam of light in the sky ..."

  • diane June 2, 2009 (11:00 pm)

    I can see the beam of light from my desk; pretty cool

  • MargL June 2, 2009 (11:23 pm)

    We just saw it looking north from Arbor Heights. Bing.

  • macJ June 2, 2009 (11:52 pm)

    It’s pretty cool to see. Not sure how it’s supposed to sell me on the search engine, though.

  • jj June 3, 2009 (12:23 am)

    i can see it all the way from 145th and aurora by shoreline

  • Kevin June 3, 2009 (12:30 am)

    Easily seen from Arbor Heights, even with all the street lights on our street. Personally I think they are going to need more than a colored light to compete with Google :)

  • alki_2008 June 3, 2009 (1:01 am)

    I agree Kevin. They need something that can be easily used as a verb…ie, “just Google it to find out more” vs “just Bing it to find out more”. Doesn’t have the same appeal with “Bing”, as it sounds like a lot of things. Probably should’ve used more than one syllable. Good features though, if they can get “Bing” to catch on.

  • WSB June 3, 2009 (1:23 am)

    Will be interesting to see if it does catch on. I have noted on Twitter, where we get a bit more opinionated, that so far everything I’ve seen is more like the results generated by Yahoo, which in my view is inferior to The Big G. Interesting question was asked by Junior Member of the Team when we started discussing Bing (which he hadn’t heard of) after seeing the light beam on our 10 pm walk — “Why does Microsoft want to do that?” he asked. Still trying to smack down Google, I guess, I replied …

  • What The June 3, 2009 (1:23 am)

    God…I kept telling them to name it “Ask Jesus”.

  • JanS June 3, 2009 (1:48 am)

    but great pics !!!!!!

  • loho2000 June 3, 2009 (5:35 am)

    I’ve been working on Bing for over four years now and am proud to say that it really is a good search engine. We finally have a product that can battle our biggest competitors. The beem of light was part of the launch party at the Space Needle.

  • lighthouse June 3, 2009 (7:36 am)

    Apparently I’m feeling cranky from the heat, because the first thing I think when I see something like this: How can Seattle claim to be a “green” city while allowing city property to be used in such a gross waste of electricity?
    I don’t care if MS is actually paying for the electricity — the fact that they’re using city buildings for this display makes the city implicitly approving this.
    (And don’t get me started on the additional light pollution caused by beaming a light straight into the sky…)

  • WSratsinacage June 3, 2009 (7:42 am)

    I woke up at 2:00 AM, saw it, and started thinking about Lost..

  • Vanessa June 3, 2009 (7:56 am)

    I wanna see, I wanna see!! Are they going to have the beam more than one night??? So sorry I missed it last night. Wonder what the aliens think….?

  • Tim June 3, 2009 (8:42 am)

    I don’t live in West Seattle but I do live practically next door to Fisher Plaza. The lights are cool but the helicopter circling the building for an hour was pretty annoying. I hope this was a one night deal.

  • margaritavilla June 3, 2009 (10:45 am)

    Bing me up Scottie????

  • Eddie June 3, 2009 (11:43 am)

    cranky lighthouse – good thought, but I believe that you’d be surprised to find that the Space Needle, and I believe the Science Center also, are not City property. How it can be, I don’t know, but somewhere along the line the space needle came to be under private ownership.

    On the other hand, I’ve been wrong before, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be wrong again……

  • WSB June 3, 2009 (12:06 pm)

    Space Needle is privately owned

    Will check with my Twitter pals at Science Center re: their ownership.

  • WSB June 3, 2009 (12:15 pm)

    And they say they too are privately owned, offering this link:

  • lighthouse June 3, 2009 (1:54 pm)

    As the old saying goes: You learn something new every day.
    I bet I’m not the only person who thought all the Seattle Center “environs” were owned by the city and parts like the Space Needle restaurant/tourist trap were leased out to private companies to run. Interesting to learn that they’re not connected to the city — so the city is in the clear on this one. (It does make me wonder exactly where the boundaries are between city and private property around there.)
    And I’m less cranky now that I’ve got the hammock set up and had a Frappucino… :)

  • WSHC June 3, 2009 (2:53 pm)

    Lighthouse: Normally the phrase would be “Let me Google that for you,” but in this case… http://www.bing.com/search?q=seattle+city+owned+property&form=QBLH

  • Eric June 3, 2009 (9:12 pm)

    Also, there are sky beam lights set up on the space needle (though not as bright, I think) that were going to be used year round. They decided to turn them on only for special occasions, (the one I can think of is right after 9/11). The reason they decided not to run them 75 nights a year, like they originally planned to, is because of light pollution. And as an amateur astronomer, the light pollution thing does sort of peeve me. I hope it’s not effecting anyone too grossly.

  • jack sparrow June 3, 2009 (10:22 pm)




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