bing

Update: As of 7PM ET, all links are now working. Please try now to download the new Bing suite for Windows Phone 8. It's not restricted to the US.

Today, Microsoft has pulled the sheets off of a new suite of apps based around the Bing search engine. Simply called Bing Apps, the collection of four apps includes Sports, News, Weather and Finance, including Live Tile support for Windows Phone 8 devices.

Based off of the same suite of apps for its Windows 8 OS, the new applications bring all of the latest news right to the Start screen, continuing the “glance and go” usability that Windows Phone users have become accustomed to. Indeed, this is the first time we’ve seen some real parallels between the desktop and mobile OS drawn and it should make using the two systems more seamless than before for new customers.

Watch our first-look video of the new apps in action and enjoy the gallery of screenshots after the break.

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On Friday, we brought you a report of upcoming changes to how Bing works and looks on Windows Phone 8. At the time, we presented a handful of documented alterations and confirmed with Microsoft that these new features were coming to those in the US soon and the rest of the world a bit later.

Today, Microsoft has decided to detail those changes on the Windows Phone Blog, filling in some of the blanks for the search engine overhaul.

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Windows Phone Central has had few isolated reports recently of changes to the Bing search results on Windows Phone 8. We can now confirm that they are real and coming to all Windows Phone 8 devices soon. The changes include a new layout and appear to be the result of usability feedback to Bing.

One of those changes that was brought to our attention is the ability to receive a direct definition of a word in the results (seen above), as opposed to clicking a link to a dictionary site.  The biggest change though is in the number of pivots, dropping from the previous four to three: Web, Local, Media, and Shopping versus the new Web, Images and Video. In addition to that change, the pivots themselves have been re-designed with a new layout for information.

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Microsoft’s Bing search engine has become the first in the world to introduce pop-up notifications for those who decide to seek out child abuse content including child pornography. The system will be launching in the United Kingdom first.

The new system will first notify users that they are searching for illegal content and offer details on available counseling services.

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A few months ago Microsoft’s Bing search engine introduced a new feature known as Snapshot, which added the ability to instantly see snippets of information about a search query before submitting it. At first Snapshot only supported people searches (which Microsoft accounted for 10% of all searches). Today, the company is expanding Snapshot with new auto-suggest categories.

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The War

There was once a time when being a heavy Google services user and a Microsoft fan was the easiest choice on the block. The boys in Redmond could provide a robust and productive operating system platform while the Mountain View search cowboys could back you up with web services. Now, the two companies are going head to head and it might just be causing a hellish nightmare for consumers.

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Sometimes technology is a collection of circuitry and silicon, sometimes though – it is a magical moment full of feelings and memories. The best experiences are born when technology transcends our knowledge and connects us with what we love. British science fiction writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, once said:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Microsoft has been around for a long time and for those of us who live off of the technology they provide, some of the memories will never seep away.

In 2007, the company released a four minute commercial that has come to be known as “Your Digital Lifestyle”. The ad highlighted the then current hi-tech Microsoft products of the time and how one green shirted hipster used them to party the night away. The commercial is set to a cover of Ash’s Girl from Mars by Canadian group, Magneta Lane.

Buckle up, because we are going on a field trip to six years ago; along the way, we are going to jam with our green shirted friend and revisit some of our past Microsoft technology goodies. Windows Vista will probably be seen along the way, but there will be plenty of other experiences to combat that bad flavor.

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Last week we reported that unconfirmed rumors on Reddit had hinted that Microsoft might be expanding it's Bing Audio music matching service. Today, the company announced that it would in fact be expanding the service into 14 new countries around the world. The music matching service is a great alternative to applications like Shazam, as it comes pre-bundled into the Windows Phone operating system.

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Do you stay awake at night dreaming of Klout scores and that you will one day have the impossible “100” rating? If so, you really need to talk to someone – Klout shouldn’t be dragging you down like a bad seafood dish. The good news for you Klout addicts is that the company is now introducing Bing search prevalence into your scores.

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In a world where Google is king, Bing is beginning to spread. The service’s take over on iOS devices as Siri’s new backend search engine is a large step forward for the company, but Microsoft isn’t done there. Yesterday at Build 2013, the company announced that they would be opening a large number of new APIs and controls to developers.

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Today was quite the day if you follow our feeds. Microsoft took the stage on day one at its Build 2013 conference to show off some products running Windows 8, as well as presenting Windows 8.1 and talking about the ecosystem in general. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer leaped on to the stage to kick the show off, but we were also blessed with the presence of Julie Larson-Green and co.

Don't worry if you somehow missed the keynote as we've got a summary right here for you.

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Today Microsoft announced the launch of Microsoft Ventures; a collection of tools, resources, and expertise for entrepreneurs. The program helps provide mentorships, technology guidance, seed funding, and other benefits to those looking to startup their business.

Microsoft Ventures will be a three part program featuring a community, accelerators, and seed funding. The company states that anyone with a “great idea” can benefit from the community and easily access resources that will help “to turn a great idea into a business”.

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It has been revealed on Reddit and confirmed by other users that Microsoft has unleashed Bing Music Search support in more regions. Numerous owners have replied to the Reddit thread from across Europe in markets where the feature was previously absent (we know of Finland, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland thus far). Bing Music Search enables consumers to find out the artist or song name to a track that's currently being played in the vicinity. 

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Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, might not be ahead of the pack when it comes to market share, but the company is always innovating and trying to deliver the best experience to their end users. On any given day, we are told that Bing runs hundreds of various experiments that range from small search algorithm tweaks to feature optimization.

Microsoft usually keeps their test on a down low – testing and tweaking them to determine whether they are a worthy addition to Bing. Yesterday though, Microsoft shared their latest experiment, Bing Boards.

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If you have never heard of Microsoft’s social network, So.cl, we aren’t surprised. The service launched back in December 2011 and was a private beta for students of the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University. Currently, the site is open to all users, but Microsoft keeps So.cl on the down low.

So.cl is a truly unique experience which tries to mix Bing with social networking. The site can be described as a mixture between pinterest and tumblr; it is currently being run by Microsoft’s research division.

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Back in March, upcoming changes to the backend of Bing and its voice capabilities (aka TellMe) were revealed with the promise that those improvements were coming to all Windows Phones. Those changes included significantly faster searches, more accurate transcription and improved accuracy in noisy environments.

Microsoft has just let it out that these changes are now official. That means if you pick up your Windows Phone right now and try to transcribe a text message or do a voice Bing Search, you should noticed the improvements. As these updates come from Microsoft’s servers, there is no OS update needed.

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