Windows 8 First Preview

Microsoft has for the very first time previewed it’s upcoming version of Windows at All Things Digital conference. Steven Sinofsky , President of Windows and Windows Live division gave a peek of some of the features.
Microsoft plans to introduce new kind of user interface to Windows. It would include tile based start screen with tiles capable of showing updated information pulled from the apps they are connected to. It means you don’t need to go inside each application to check for information. It is automatically available on the home screen. This design is essentially inspired from Windows Phone 7.
Windows 8 will include web connected apps which would be developed using HTML 5 and Java Script. They will have full access to the power of PC. The new user interface would be optimized for touch but will run equally well with traditional keyboard and mouse also.
Windows 8 would be capable of running on multiple form factors including small slates, laptops, desktops and even bigger class room sized displays providing one experience across different variety of PC’s. With tablets like iPad becoming popular, it is important for Microsoft that it’s Windows runs well on them and provides a great user experience.
This was just the tip of iceberg. Microsoft would be revealing more details at it’s developer event, BUILD (Sept. 13 - 16 in Anaheim, Calif.).
Imagining what is the new user interface like ? Check out the video

Tech Buzz for Week ended 29 May 2011


Tech Buzz brings together some of the buzz in Technology world during the week.
1 Free Xbox 360 offer from Microsoft

Starting May 22, students in US can get a free Xbox 360 4GB console when they buy an eligible Windows 7 PC.
2 Interact with your car with “Toyota Friend”
Toyota is planning to build private social network that will connect car owners with their car, their dealership and Toyota. It intends to create rich car ownership experience by providing a variety of information related to product & service. It will be accessible through smart phones, tablets and other advanced mobile devices. 
3 Verizon launches HTC Trophy
Verizon has launched Windows Phone 7 based HTC Trophy. It comes loaded with Xbox LIVE, ZUNE Music, 5 megapixels camera, 16 GB On Board memory. It will run on 1 Ghz Qualcomm processor.   
Google unveils Google Wallet
Just tap your phone on the reader to make payments. Can it revolutionize how we pay ?
5 Malicious software hits Mac users
Known for their security, Mac line of computers has been hit by a malicious program affecting number of users.

Windows Phone 7 major update: Mango

Microsoft has unveiled a major update (500+ improvements ! ) to it’s mobile platform Windows Phone 7. Platform launched in October 2010 and has seen good momentum in terms of marketplace applications (17000 and counting).     
What Mango has to offer ?
1 Easier communication
·  You use Facebook chat? You use Windows Live Messenger? Now you can switch between them and text within same conversation.
·  Like to send same message to a group of people in one go? Contacts can be grouped into personalized Live Tiles and text, email or IM can be send to whole group that too from the Start screen.
·  This update brings built in speech-to-text and text-to-speech. This would be really useful while driving
2 Improved approach towards apps
·  With App Connect, search results will now include apps. It will be connected to Marketplace, so along with installed apps you will see relevant apps you can download from marketplace.
·  This is one of the most desired features. Phones running Mango will support  Multitasking. Apps will have capability to run in background and one can easily switch between open apps
  3 Mango will come loaded with mobile version of IE 9
·  Browser would have support for HTML5 (latest HTML standard) along with hardware accelerated graphics.
·  Microsoft’s search engine Bing will also see some handy features coming to it. They will include capability to search the web with Voice and for the music lovers, music search will be added   
Another interesting feature will be Bing Vision. You can use your phone’s camera to get information on things around you.
4 Web based marketplace
It will make easier for phone owners to get relevant apps as they can do so on their PC browser in addition to their mobile device. Users will be able to purchase apps using their credit cards and then they can be transferred to the user’s  phone. Apps will have better visibility and promotion as there will be options to share links in mail and recommend on social sites like Facebook, Twitter.
Competition in mobile space is increasing by the day with Apple and Android moving ahead with pace. Microsoft is hoping to chalk out bigger market share in this space. To get to it's goals faster, It has also forged a partnership with Nokia which would use Windows Phone 7 as it's primary OS in future. 

Next generation Windows launch in 2012

Have you been hearing rumours about when will next version of Windows, world's most widely used OS launch ? Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft announced on May 23 at a developer's meet in Tokyo
that next generation of Windows, popularly dubbed as Windows 8 would launch next year.

Microsoft has seen huge success with Windows 7. According to Windows blog , Windows 7 has sold more than 350 million licenses

With Windows 8, Microsoft is looking at continuing that trend. It is expected to be cloud friendly , optimized for tablets, will have reduced boot time among other cool features. You can learn more about possible Windows 8 features  here.

There could be more concrete details available about Windows 8 next week when Steven Sinofsky, President  of Windows division at Microsoft speaks at 9th D: All Things Digital  conference . Stay tuned for updates.

Update 25 May, 2011 5 pm IST

According to statement from a Microsoft spokesperson,  "We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows."
Let's see if Mr. Ballmer's schedule of 2012 holds or not.

Bing enhances social search

Make better decisions with Facebook friend's opinion

Tech Tracker  Bing, search engine from Microsoft is making additional efforts to enhance it's search results by using your friend's opinion from Facebook. According to the blog posting  90% of people seek advice from friends and family to help them make decisions.

So, How can you take  better decisions with integration of traditional search and social view ?

1 Using Facebook Like data
This is probably one of the most used features of Facebook. 
Suppose you search for YouTube on Bing  (change to Bing United States first), you will see link to videos which have been Liked by your friend's.
This feature also helps bring out popular pages of any website. If you search for BlackBerry , along with normal results it will include links to some pages from within the site which have been well-liked by people.

2 Enhanced profile search 
You can search for your Facebook friend's , right within Bing with profile details like location, education, employment etc. It will help in quickly identifying the person you are looking for. 

Location search  
Suppose you search for a specific city where you are planning to head to, results will include your friends living there . So you know which friends can give you more information about that place.
You can also create and share your travel wishlist's with your friends with Bing travel wish list application for Facebook.       

Flight deals
This one would be useful for people who fly frequently. If you Like a ciy in Bing Travel, you can get great deals for that city directly in your Facebook feed

Search engines nowadays are increasingly including results from social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc. Google offers Realtime search which includes latest Tweets for the
searched keywords

To check out latest Bing social features, go to Bing (United States), Sign in with your Facebook account and you can start experiencing personalized social search.

Microsoft confirms it's buying Skype

Microsoft to pay whopping $8.5 Billion for Skype 
Tech Tracker  You might have used popular communication and collaboration software Skype one or the other time for text chatting, voice calls or maybe for giving a presentation to your boss by sharing your screen.
Lately, There had been rumours floating around that Skype was in talks with some companies including Facebook for making some deal.
After all the talks, it has entered into a definitive agreement with Microsoft under which Microsoft will pay $8.5 billion in cash to acquire Skype from the investor group led by Silver Lake.
So what interest Microsoft has in Skype that it’s ready to pay so much?  There may be several reasons.
·       Skype has 170 million connected users with 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010 
·       Microsoft has plans to bring Skype support to popular Microsoft gaming console Xbox and it’s best selling Kinect add on, it’s mobile OS Windows Phone and other Windows devices.
·      Microsoft has invested in real time communication technologies  including Hotmail, Messenger, Outlook, Xbox LIVE and Lync. It will connect Skype users to these services and other communities

“Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates.
Let’s see how Microsoft integrates Skype with it’s own platforms and services for the benefit of consumers and enterprise. According to Microsoft, it will continue to invest in and support Skype on non Microsoft platforms also.

What's your opinion on this deal ?

Microsoft Bing launches Facebook app

Travel wish list app for Facebook by Bing

Tech Tracker Microsoft Bing, search engine from Redmond based software giant Microsoft has launched  a Facebook travel wish list app.

Some of the prominent features of app are
  • It allows users to create a list of destinations which they would like to visit at some time along with optional purpose.
  • When a place is added, 6 beautiful images relevant to the destination are shown. Clicking on an image will take to Bing Image search results showing more relevant pictures
  •  On right side, friend list appears with a search box. You can view your friend's travel wish list, if they have created one. Additionaly, you can suggest destinations to your friend. 
  • Want to tell your friends your travel plans ? It's easy. Just click on the Share link and you can post it to your wall 
  • If holidays are around the corner and you are not able to decide where to head, use "Ask Your Friends" option to get suggestions from friends    
If you are a travel enthusiast and have made future travel plans in your mind,this app provides an easy way to manage and share your plans with friends. There are also some useful links on top for exploring travel destinations, deals, flights and hotels

You can check out the application here


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