Bing

How to turn on Bing maps traffic outside the US on Windows Phone

bing-maps-logo

Recently Microsoft´s Bing-Team announced another achievement in the collaboration with Nokia. Bing Maps is now using Nokia´s Backend for Traffic and Geocoding.

As a Windows Phone user, I wanted to test this also on my Windows Phone. And sadly, as I am outside the US, it did not show up.

So I contacted Bing Germany via Twitter to ask what is going on there. They also thought it would be available equally to the PC´s version of Bing Maps. They had to ask the German Windows Phone team.

After a couple of hours, they answered that it yet has to be rolled out. But there is a workaround.

So here is my little guide:

Open Settings/Language Settings and scroll down until the browser- and search language-field and change it to “English (USA)”:

After saving this setting, open the maps app on your Windows Phone. If you click now on the application bar, your will recognize the “show traffic” option. Tap on it to activate.

After a short loading time, the actual traffic situation shows up on your Windows Phone:

You can switch the browser and search language setting back, but then the setting is always active. It should only be a matter of time until the feature is available in all languages directly.

I hope this little guide helps you to use this awesome feature. This guide should work with any language, I tested it with German and Italian, both time working perfectly. Feel free to leave a comment below.

You can read the German Bing blog post here.

Posted by msicc in Bing, Windows Phone, 0 comments

Microsoft is making Bing very social – also for Windows Phone and mobile web

bind-three-columnsMicrosoft  today announced some very cool new features to Bing.

They have  redesigned Bing and will introduce a three column design where all of the new features will work.

Here is what we will get over the next days/weeks (Bing is still in final test stadium):

  • Core Web Results: Relevant, comprehensive and trustworthy.Microsoft will not mix search results with social updates. There will be only search results, and lets us concentrate on the core web results.
  • Snapshot: Get it done faster.Snapshots will show you relevant information to search results in the second column.
  • Sidebar: Social search done right. The third column will contain all of your social integration while you are on the web. Bing describes the sidebar as following:
    • Always present, never intrusive. The sidebar will appear as part of every query, but it will remain off to the right, allowing searchers to decide when and how to interact with it. We’ve moved most of the social content out of the main search pane and put it in a dedicated place where people can always expect to find it.
    • Ask Friends: You can post a question to get help from your Facebook friends as you search. You can “tag” friends Bing suggests might know about the topic. In a few simple clicks you can share your search and your friends can reply to your question on either Facebook or Bing.

    image

    • Friends Who Might Know: Once you authorize Bing, sidebar helps you post a question to get help from your Facebook friends as you search. Bing suggests friends on Facebook who might know about the topic – based on what they “like”, their Facebook profile information, or photos they have shared – so you can easily ask them about relevant experiences and opinions and go quickly from searching to doing. For example, if you’re searching for diving spots in Costa Rica, with the new Bing, you may discover that one of your Facebook friends knows a great spot, based on photos from their last trip to Costa Rica that they shared on Facebook. Or you might find a friend who lives in Costa Rica based on his or her Facebook profile. You and your friends can only see information you could already see about each other on Facebook.
    • People Who Know: Beyond friends, Bing can help you find people who are influential about the topic you’re searching, based on what they’ve publically blogged or tweeted about. In a glance you will see top experts and enthusiasts from leading networks like Twitter, Foursquare, Quora, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Blogger to quickly check out what they have to say about the topic you’re searching for. You can follow them, ask them a question or see what they have shared in the past.
    • Activity feed. From the activity feed in the sidebar, you can see, posts and queries you and your friends have chosen to share from Bing. You can help answer friends’ questions, “like” something interesting they have shared. Because these activities show up in both Bing (activity feed) and Facebook, you can comment on them from either place.

Bing added also a video to show you the new functions in action:

If you are like me and want to be amongst the first who hear if there is something new for Bing, check this page: http://www.bing.com/explore/new

As I mentioned above, Bing is in final testing and will bring the new functions after finishing it.

If you are outside the use, I recommend you to swap the country of Bing to the US to obtain the new features. You can do this by clicking on your country´s name in the top right area of Bing.

image

Sadly also this time, Microsoft launches their new features for US only. But I guess they will port them over to rest of the world after some time.

Windows Phone will also get these features. They will add a webpage where you can swipe through the three columns, like it is integrated in a lot of apps.

Windows Phone will also get these features. They will add a webpage  where you can swipe through the three columns, like it is integrated in a lot of apps.

m.bing.com

You can also register for more information on m. bing.com/new.

A connection from Bing mobile to Facebook can be established right now, suggests to contain also social results:

bing connect to Facebook

I will use Bing as webpage instead of the integrated Bing function of Windows Phone to find out how deep the integration already goes.

I will keep you informed as soon as there are more news.

source: Bing

Posted by msicc in Bing, Windows Phone, 0 comments

Changes to Windows Live and other Microsoft services

Windows-Live-crossed

Yesterday Steven Sinofsky blogged about the changes Microsoft is doing on the Windows Live brand name.

Windows Live was launched as brand back in 2005 as “a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.” The services itself have been under continued development since then.

Meanwhile Windows Live services are used by over 500 millions of people. Now Microsoft is starting to streamline the naming.

First, you no longer have a Windows Live-ID. You have now a Microsoft account. With this Microsoft account you can log in to all services like Mail, SkyDrive, Windows Phone Marketplace and others.

Microsoft recalls each single service. All services are losing their “Windows Live”-tag:

  • Windows Live Mail or Hotmail becomes Mail
  • Windows Live Messenger becomes Messaging
  • Windows (Live) Calendar becomes Calendar
  • Windows (Live) Contacts becomes People
  • FolderShare, Windows Live Mesh becomes SkyDrive

All services are still usable like most of us are used to. But with the great cloud integration on Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it only makes sense that Microsoft renames those services to fit the naming of both OS. All services will run as equally named apps. Check out the table below for more info:

changes-to-live-services

But that were not all changes Microsoft announced. Let us go next to Microsoft´s adCenter.  They recently announced that for Small and Medium businesses the service now is called simply “Bing”. As already stated by LiveSide.net, this is a real strange decision. Why are they calling the adCenter now only Bing? Bing is known as Microsoft´s search (decision) engine- so how does this fit?

Of course as I have a developer account for Microsoft Advertising. But it seems there is no change to it – for now.

Inside Xbox will be discontinued. It is a collection of news, game tips and tutorials, packed into a video series popping up on Xbox. For the moment, it is discontinued only in the US, Canada, Australia as well as New Zealand. In Europe, the future is uncertain, as Major Nelson, first class Xbox promoter from Microsoft, has no news to share from here. Head over to his blog to read more and even let him know how disappointing this decision is.

Change is happening, yes. But not all change is good, as you can see on this news roundup.

sources: Windows 8 Blog, LiveSide.net

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

Why Microsoft should not sell Bing to anyone

In the last few days several sites are telling us Microsoft eventually will be selling Bing to Facebook. One week ago there was an article on Neowin; today Business Insider published another one.

Microsoft already works close together with Facebook. So why should they sell Bing to Facebook for a higher stock amount?

Microsoft loses the huge amount of 2.5 billion USD. This is something investors are not amused about. And they would probably love to see Bing sold to Facebook.

In my eyes this would be a big fail.

Microsoft had a hard start with its own search engine. Bing has to stand up against Google, which is still the most used search engine. But slowly Microsoft´s Bing is getting attention. Bing has most of Google features like Search, Maps and Translator. What Bing is missing in my eyes is a Google reader equivalent.

Bing offers a background image which changes on a daily base. Users can easily download it or set it as background directly. Recently, Microsoft improved their image and video search results with endless Scrolling and other features. I love this features. Bing is also rolling out Street-Side as well as Maps changes (recently added venue maps to more regions).

But Bing is more.

Bing is an integral part of Microsoft´s ecosystem. Bing is part of the Xbox Dashboard, where it is used to search the whole Xbox content. Bing is also part of Windows Phone, and it is used a lot. You can use the Bing Bar to integrate Bing into your browser. I am sure we will see more integration with Bing in a future or the final Build of Windows 8.

Bing is not only part of Microsoft´s ecosystem. It is part of the company´s strategy. Microsoft is working to get Bing your decision engine. Bing will help you to decide all kind of things in future as it is becoming more intelligent.

I use Bing daily. From time to time I run a comparison search on Google. And for my needs Bing gives me the better results in over 90% of all cases. Someone may argue this to the fact that I am a Microsoft fanboy.

But it is not. I tell you why: today I ran a search on both Bing and Google. Bing gave me some really good matches on the first 5 search results. Google did another thing. It listed first Amazon and eBay results to me, which were in this situation totally useless. The results I found immediately with Bing were on page 4 and 5 of Google´s search results! This is the experience I often have when I compare the two. And yes, every time I run this comparison I use the same search terms on both engines.

Microsoft should not sell Bing.

Instead it should keep going on with promotion. Bing rewards for example. Sadly it is an US-only thing. Microsoft should roll out this globally. They have Windows Phone users, Xbox Users, and also PC users who can benefit from the rewards program. And it would help to broaden the user base that uses Bing on a daily base.

Bing for sure has room for improvements. But it delivers good results. It delivers a good user experience. And it will grow. One day Bing will write black numbers. And I am feeling like this day is not too far away.

Posted by msicc in Bing, Microsoft, 0 comments

Bing Video search updated to make searching for videos easier

Microsoft is constantly updating its Bing service, and now the video search has received an update. Once you search a video, your result page will look like this:

Screenshot (95)

If you go with your mouse over a video, it starts immediately to play. So you can see before going to the video´s page whether it is worth or not.

As you can see on the image above, you can also detail your search terms by length, resolution as well as set sources.

The most impressing thing for me is the “infinite scrolling”, which is also available on image search. You can scroll and scroll, and Bing adds automatically further results. No need to click on a “next page” button, this is providing a “fast and fluid” experience.

The update is available in all countries where Bing Video currently is available.

What do you think about this? Shot me a comment below.

source: winbeta.org via Bing

Posted by msicc in Bing, 0 comments
(Update 2) Bing Germany updated with new functions

(Update 2) Bing Germany updated with new functions

bingplaceholder

Yesterday Microsoft launched an update to their search engine Bing in Germany.

New: Hotspots

International users may now already this function, but to us in Germany it is new. Once you move the mouse on the Bing-homepage, you will recognize some squares on the image.

Screenshot (76)

You are wondering what they are doing? Well, they provide further background information about today´s image. Today for example it is all about Cádiz, a famous carneval city in Spain. Once you move your mouse over a square, more information and a link are provided:

Screenshot (75)

This feature is now also available on German Windows Phones:

Screen Capture

Screen Capture (2)

More intelligent search results

Microsoft´s goal is to provide contextual search results. For example, searching for a movie on the PC will show up some critics and other information about the movie, as you can see on the screenshot below:Screenshot (81)

The results for Kung Fu Panda 2 (my kids love this movie as well as I do), leads to the official page, the wiki page, some videos and the IMDB page. On your Xbox you will get all the entries which are available for Xbox like Movies to rent or buy as well as games related to your search.

Bing Tour in German

Screenshot (82)

The Bing tour in German language shows you how you can make your life easier with Bing. The video shows how to search for videos, images, as well as use it on your Windows Phone. You can watch the video at http://www.bingtour.de/.

Local Scout finally in Germany

UK and US users can use this feature for a time now. Since yesterday, this also works here in Germany. With Local Scout you get search results nearby you:

Screen Capture (59)

Update 1:

The dedicated “Local Scout” button still disappears on German Windows Phones. The search itself is working as aspected. I will update this as soon as the button is available.  (Thanks  to Mark who reminds me the missing button).

Update 2:

image

According to Bing Germany´s Twitter account, Microsoft is working to make the local scout functionality in Windows Phone fully available. For the moment it is only working in normal search, the dedicated button disappears from German Windows Phones. No word when it will be ready to use.

So finally Microsoft shows some love for us here in Germany. Hopefully this will happen to the Zune pass too, which is still missing here in Germany. What do you all think of this changes?

Posted by msicc in Bing, 2 comments

Bing and Nokia Maps – finally unified

Last year Microsoft and Nokia announced their strategic partnership. One point of this partnership is also their maps.

Bing and Nokia Maps designers have been working hard to offer an unique experience to us. Yesterday, both posted about the result of this work.

The new Maps will be available through web version as well as on Windows Phone.

New color palette for road map style

Bing and Nokia updated both their coloring of the maps, which leads to a more streamlined look. It is now easier to interpret roads on the map, as shown here:

image

Typography and Visual Hierarchy

With updated fonts, a new structure on labels more based on zoom levels, Bing and Nokia are providing a more clear readability as well as usability. Only information which is necessary and sense-full will be provided. Both learned that to much information creates an overload, which cuts deep into the user experience.

New Bing Maps also on Windows Phone

Also on Windows Phone the changes will be applied. Look at these two shots to compare the old map style and the new one.

Nokia-Maps-on-Nokia-Lumia-Old-Design                      Nokia-Maps-on-Nokia-Lumia-New-Design

Bing Maps has grown mapping coverage to a bunch of new countries, like Egypt, Israel, Malta, Philippines, Uruguay and Venezuela.

It´s good to see another fruit of the strategic partnership between Microsoft and Nokia.

You can read the full post over at Bing´s Blog as well as on Nokia´s Blog.

Posted by msicc in Bing, 0 comments
First venue maps available for Germany on Bing Maps

First venue maps available for Germany on Bing Maps

While writing my post about Streetside in Germany, I recognized a button for venue maps on German Bing Maps.

Currently there are two airports and 13 malls available.

image

I used the airport of Nuremberg in my previous post, so i recognized that there is also a venue map for it. Here are some screen shots:

image

image

image

So you can see the two floor levels of the airport, and can use Bing Maps to navigate In-house to your desired terminal or other places like ticketing etc. Great to see this improvement coming (slowly, yes, but still coming) to other countries.

Although there is also a link to a “more info about this venue”-page, this currently does not work. So I guess this is something like a test for Germany, I will update this post as soon as I am able to open this additional page.

Posted by msicc in Bing, Microsoft, 0 comments
Microsoft starts Bing Streetside in Germany

Microsoft starts Bing Streetside in Germany

image

Microsoft recently announced the availability of Bing Streetside in Germany.

From start there are only a few cities which can be explored with Bing Streetside . They are Augsburg, Berlin, Darmstadt, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Ingolstadt, Mainz, Munich, Nuremberg, Offenbach am Main, Regensburg, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden and Würzburg.

Here is a short guide to help you use the new feature in Bing maps

In my example we are discovering the airport of Nuremberg, Germany. I love the bird view feature of Bing, so here is where we start:

image

Now click on this button above the map image:

image

After clicking this button, the map changes with blue lines around the streets. If there is no blue line, the street or place is still not available yet.

image

Now the Street-side is loaded into the map view:image

Now you can turn around using the compass like control in the middle of the street. You can navigate around by clicking on a place in the image as well as use the mini map on the right top corner.

Anyway, you need to install Microsoft Silverlight on your PC to use this features.

Remember, there are only a few cities, and the may not be full covered at this moment, so it is more like a Beta. Hopefully Microsoft is updating this service as soon as possible.

I will update this post as soon as there are news for the coverage.

Posted by msicc in Bing, Microsoft, 0 comments