Microsoft News Center
If there’s an equation for creating a virtual musical experience for the ages, then Grammy award winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre may have found it:
· One hundred live choir members made up of singers from choirs at California State University, Long Beach Campus, California State University, Fullerton Campus and Riverside City College +
· Thirty singers from 28 different countries connected via Skype video calls =
· A musical masterpiece.
At TED2013, Whitacre led a live global virtual choir performance of his piece “Cloudburst” that, for the first time, combined live and virtual choirs. Watch the behind-the-scenes documentary below to find out how Whitacre pulled off the performance. Then, head on over to The Big Blog to see the actual performance – it’s a thing of beauty and you won’t want to miss it!
One of the advantages of searching with Bing is the ability to tap into the wisdom of friends and experts in the social sidebar, and starting today you will see an average of five times more Facebook content in the sidebar, including status updates, shared links, comments and photos from your friends. Bing is the only search engine where you can find relevant search results along with the people who can help you make a decision — so you can spend more time doing and less time searching.
To learn more about Bing’s social updates, read today’s Search Blog post from Bing Corporate Vice President Derrick O’Connell, check out the video demo below and head over to http://www.Bing.com to experience the benefits of social search.
<a title="Bing Social Updates Arrive Today: For Every Search, There is Someone Who Can Help" href="http://video.msn.com/?vid=8b943b34-5082-47d7-ba21-58884d8a9ea0&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed:syndication:uuids&from=shareembed-syndication" target="_new" data-mce-href="http://video.msn.com/?vid=8b943b34-5082-47d7-ba21-58884d8a9ea0&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed:syndication:uuids&from=shareembed-syndication">Video: Bing Social Updates Arrive Today: For Every Search, There is Someone Who Can Help</a>
Since last summer, more than 60 million customers have signed up for Outlook.com, Microsoft’s new modern email service. And when we say “modern”, we mean “modern”.
Outlook.com helps solve two of the biggest problems email services have faced since people started communicating electronically in massive numbers years ago – outdated contacts lists and attachment space limits.
Here’s your daily roundup of news from around the company:
First, this morning Microsoft introduced the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, a new effort through which the company will actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness. By 2016, the 4Afrika Initiative plans to help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) online, upskill 100,000 members of Africa’s existing workforce and help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop employability skills, 75 percent of whom Microsoft will help place in jobs. Learn more over on the 4Africa Web site.
In other news, today is Safer Internet Day, and to mark the occasion Microsoft has released the results of its second annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), revealing that more than half (55 percent) of global respondents are experiencing multiple online risks, yet only 16 percent say they take multiple proactive steps to help protect themselves and their data. This year the MCSI also examined mobile safety behaviors, uncovering that although less than half of respondents (42 percent) run software updates on their personal computers, only 28 percent run regular updates on their mobile devices, potentially compounding their risk. Read the latest Microsoft on the Issues blog post to find out more about how you can stay safer online.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Lync, Skype and the future of communications; big data visionaries talking shop in Silicon Valley, plus tips on making your Windows Phone apps stand out from the crowd.
Announcing the release of ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 update. On Monday, Microsoft announced the final release of the ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 update. This update is a free download for Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5, and adds some great additional features to both ASP.NET and Visual Studio. This update makes no changes to the existing ASP.NET runtime, and so it is fully compatible with your existing projects and development environment. Whether you use Web Forms, MVC, Web API, or any other ASP.NET technology, there is something in this update for you. Get an outline of the new and enhanced features, plus tips and resources in Monday’s post on Scott Guthrie’s Blog.
Rehumanizing communications from the living room to the boardroom. Microsoft Skype Division President Tony Bates gave the inaugural Lync Conference keynote address yesterday in San Diego to a sold-out show with our growing community of customers, partners and Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). In a guest post on the Official Microsoft Blog yesterday, Bates summarizes his keynote as being about “re-humanizing communications ‘from the living room to the boardroom.’” People are at the center of this vision. All day, every day, we are all simultaneously consumers and professionals, friends, family and colleagues – and our communications technologies need to move between these dimensions as seamlessly as we do. To see what’s in store, head over to Bates’ post on the Official Microsoft Blog.
Three stories out of Microsoft today:
Microsoft announced today a US$100 million investment in a series of research, development and entrepreneurial initiatives in Brazil, to be hosted in the Barão de Mauá building, a historic heritage site of the city of Rio. Microsoft’s investment is closely aligned to the Brazilian federal information technology plan, TI Maior, put forward by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, which seeks to promote national development and a generation of new opportunities for the country in the area of IT.
Also, Last week, Bing kicked off our series of posts highlighting 8 ways you can search on Windows 8. Today, we’re back with an app that is sure to become an indispensable part of your day: The Weather App powered by Bing.
Two stories out of Microsoft this morning:
First, Scandinavian outdoor brand, Helly Hansen, best known for apparel that is the optimal combination of purposeful design, protection and style, has chosen Microsoft Office 365 as its communication and social platform. A globally recognized brand, Helly Hansen sells its products on five continents. In addition, Helly Hansen operates 39 retail outlets in Europe and North America. The company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and its 350 full-time employees collaborate across offices in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, China, Canada and the United States. Read more about it over on the Microsoft News Center.
And second, at Microsoft, we want to help parents create a healthy computing environment for their kids. That’s why we set out to hear from parents about what matters most to them in helping young people stay safer online.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on open source Apache Hadoop coming to Windows, the accelerating momentum of Yammer, plus tools and offers to make building Windows Phone apps faster and easier.
Hortonworks and Microsoft bring the Hortonworks Data Platform to Windows. On Monday, Hortonworks released the beta for the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) for Windows, the industry’s first 100% Open Source Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows. With Windows Server holding 73% market share in 2012, HDP for Windows dramatically broadens the accessible market for Hadoop. This release is the result of a deep engineering partnership between Hortonworks and Microsoft with the goal to help accelerate the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise by diversifying the number of platforms that it can run on. Get the rest of the story in Monday’s post on the SQL Server Blog.
Windows Phone developer updates & offers from Mobile World Congress. Windows Phone team member Todd Brix posts from from Barcelona where he had the honor of joining Nokia at its App Developer Conference to help kick-off Mobile World Congress. Nokia shared some great phone and app news that you can read about here. For Microsoft, today is about showing you, our Windows Phone developers, the progress you have made. Brix also announced a few more tools and programs that make it even easier for you to develop for Windows Phone. Read about these tools, including the new Dev Center App (screen shot below), in Monday’s post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Also, the Windows Phone Next App Star contest sweetens the pot – read about the US$15,000 in new prizes added to the contest.
Yammer accelerates momentum following Microsoft acquisition. Yammer, Inc., a best-in-class Enterprise Social Network and part of the Microsoft Office Division, today announced record growth in 2012 and accelerating momentum following the Microsoft acquisition.
Today Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, along with Nancy Tellem, president of entertainment and digital media at Microsoft, participated in a D: Dive into Media session facilitated by Peter Kafka. At the session, Mehdi revealed some new data that illustrate how entertainment usage on the Xbox has exploded during its living room transformation:
Alarm clock, stereo, DVD player, thermostat—those are just a few everyday items that Jeff Bradley’s smartphone has replaced.
He expects many more consumer electronics to end up in the recycling bin.
As AT&T’s senior vice president of Device and Developer Services, Bradley spends a lot of time thinking about how smartphones are changing our lives. Powerful yet palm-sized devices, blazing-fast mobile networks and an ever-expanding app ecosystem have converged to change not just the way we communicate but the world around us.
We’re still in the early stages of that wave, he says. Our smartphones will eventually become a control hub to monitor and manage just about everything that has an electronic pulse.
We had the chance to talk with Bradley just before Mobile World Congress about the key trends shaping the industry, their impact on customers and why he plans to say goodbye to his wallet and car keys.
Q: What big trends are you currently looking at in the industry landscape, and why are they important for AT&T and your customers?
A: I think the most obvious trend is this incredible adoption by consumers and businesses of the smartphone as their primary form of communication. Combine these super-powerful devices with very fast networks and the ongoing phenomenon around mobile apps, and you have an unbelievably powerful platform. Now all of a sudden you have this incredibly disruptive event where the smartphone is becoming a replacement for many historical consumer electronics products and services.
Start with your alarm clock, right, by your bedside table; that is completely unnecessary with a smartphone. A standalone individual MP3 player is redundant. And most people now don't even need a DVD on your TV; you beam it from your smartphone.
So what started off as a way for me to be able to stay connected and communicate has now effectively become, for most people, their consumer electronics hub.
Big Data Week continues here at Microsoft today with a deep dive from the News Center on the innovative ways our customers are using big data to solve business problems. Read how The Weather Network uses big data to improve their forecasts (and how you can “roll your own” predictions with Windows Azure), how the National Health Index uses big data to keep us healthy and much more. Meanwhile, a guest post on the ShiSh List from Digital Folio Founder/President Patrick Carter explores the growing potential for big data in the retail space.
Paris is known for its broad boulevards, its picturesque side streets and its heavy traffic. Autolib, an innovative car-sharing service, is helping make that traffic more manageable through a fleet of compact electric cars and an array of flexible services designed to help drivers reduce their reliance on privately owned cars — all connected and managed through an intelligent system based on Microsoft technology in the cars and at the points of registration, rental and service. Read the News Center feature to learn more.
Today, Microsoft lifted the veil on its reimagined Envisioning Center, the result of collaboration between the company’s Strategic Prototyping team and Office Labs. Visitors can work on interactive desks, talk with colleagues through digital walls, and cook in a Kinect-enabled kitchen. Microsoft expects thousands of customers to explore the new space each year. Watch the short video below to get a look inside the Envisioning Center, and then head on over the Next at Microsoft to get the full story.
Earlier this week at the 2013 Game Developer Conference, we announced several cool game titles soon to hit the Windows Store.
Some – like “Bejeweled”, “Samurai v. Zombies” and “Shuffle Party” – will hit the Windows Store this weekend. Others – including “Temple Run Brave” from Disney and “Field & Stream Fishing” – fall under the “coming soon” to the Windows Store category.
Though concern for the environment is always top of mind at Microsoft, Earth Day is a good moment in time for taking a step back and reflecting on environmental initiatives and activities across the entire company.
To that end, I’ve put together a roundup of environmentally themed stories from across several different groups here at Microsoft.
New LiveANDES app helps citizens give endangered species a fighting chance. It’s easy to feel helpless when we hear about species falling into extinction in far-away lands. But now, thanks to a new app that Microsoft Research developed in partnership with researchers from two organizations in Latin America, hikers and other nature enthusiasts can play an important role in keeping endangered species alive. The app is called LiveANDES and is part of a system designed to collect, house and analyze data about Latin America’s wildlife. Watch the video below and then head on over to the Microsoft Research Connections Blog to get the rest of this great story.
Movie fans rejoice! The popular movie app Flixster is now available to Xbox LIVE subscribers in the U.S.!
In 1986, Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash. campus was still a grass- and forest-covered 88-acre plot of land in a sleepy, one-stoplight suburb of Seattle.
Today the campus spans 500 acres and 125 buildings. There’s a soccer field and cricket pitch, miles of wooded walking paths – and 14.9 million square feet of office space and labs that function as an interconnected “smart city” thanks to an “Internet of Things meets Big Data” software solution developed by a small team of Microsoft facilities engineers.
The software, which is saving Microsoft millions of dollars, has been so successful that the company and its partners are now helping building managers across the world deploy the same solution. And with commercial buildings consuming an estimated 40 percent of the world’s total energy, the potential is huge.
Read the story of how Microsoft built the city of the future today on the Microsoft News Center.
Some of the most interesting stories coming out of this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are all about the magic that happens when app builders’ ingenuity meshes with the unique benefits of Microsoft’s ecosystem.
You can see some great examples of this in a slideshow on the Microsoft News Center today featuring work from app builders around the globe. For more from app developers in their own words, have a look at the videos below from the Windows team.Posted by Steve WiensGuest Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog
If you’re looking for a way to tap into your creative side, look no further than this roundup of Windows Apps for the visual arts put together over on The Windows Experience Blog by blogger Antonia Blume.
Blume, who majored in painting in college, writes, “These days, it can be a challenge to still find time to draw and paint, so when I got my new Surface, the first thing I did was start exploring its possibilities as an art-making tool.”
Microsoft sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses in the products first six months, announced Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of Windows, in an interview on the Windows Blog posted Monday evening.
Tired of being let down on Valentine’s Day? You’re not alone. According to a recent survey from Bing and Impulse Research Corp., one in 10 people have ended a relationship on arguably the most romantic day of the year.
This year, Bing is challenging people to reconsider their search habit and break up with Google. You wouldn’t keep dating someone who isn’t trustworthy, so why use a search engine known for serving its interests over your own? In fact, a whopping 85 percent of people report that trustworthiness is the most important trait in a mate, beating out good in bed, sense of humor and wealth.
Space… The final frontier… These are the voyages of five cool Windows 8 apps that let space fanatics explore strange new worlds, seek out new life forms and new… well, you get the idea.
Windows Experience Blog writer Amy D has a fantastic roundup of five out of this world apps focused on exploring the cosmos – Star Chart, NASA Be a Martian, The Final Frontier, Planet Story and Angry Birds Space. Above is a screenshot from the Star Chart app.
Skype has hit a major milestone – Skype users are now spending 2 billion minutes per day connecting with one another!
Just how big is 2 billion minutes? Take a gander at the infographic below to find out.
2 billion minutes infographic by Skype
We recently released an updated version of Skype for Windows 8 that gives our users higher control over who can contact them by adding the ability to block contacts, as well as other performance improvements.
Boy, they never stop trying to improve over on the Bing team.
Today, Microsoft released a new version of Bing Desktop, which includes some cool new features:
· Keep Tabs on Your Facebook Friends: Now Bing Desktop lets you check your news feed and friends’ photos without launching a browser.