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  • AOL/Dana Wollman

    Microsoft privacy dashboard gives you control over your data

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    01.10.2017

    Microsoft has been accused of overstepping privacy boundaries with Windows 10, but it's ready to try and regain some of that broken trust. It's launching a web-based account privacy dashboard that lets you monitor and control the information Microsoft services use. You can view and wipe your Bing search history, Edge browsing history and your location activity. And if you're worried about what Cortana Notebook and Microsoft Health are doing, you can edit your data for those services.

  • Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Your search history could be an early detector for lung cancer

    by 
    Timothy J. Seppala
    Timothy J. Seppala
    11.11.2016

    "You may have lung cancer. Please consult a physician." That'd very likely be the worst alert you could ever see on your phone, right? In the future, though, it could be a reality. By looking at anonymous search history and cross-referencing it with demographic data, scientists from Microsoft Research propose that 39 percent of oncology diagnosis could be made a year earlier -- no Watson required. It definitely sounds like something out of Minority Report, but applied to healthcare.

  • Beck Diefenbach / REUTERS

    Microsoft reorganizes to create a dedicated AI division

    by 
    David Lumb
    David Lumb
    09.29.2016

    Microsoft has reorganized several disparate projects and programs into an entirely new Artificial Intelligence group. It will be the fourth major division after Windows, Office and cloud, reallocating over 5,000 computer scientists and engineers under its umbrella. The shift shows how much unified effort the tech giant believes the field needs, as well as internally standardized AI tech they can more easily integrate into customer products.

  • Reuters/Jim Young

    DNC, RNC streaming options include Twitch and Bing

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    07.13.2016

    The US' big political parties are seemingly determined to outdo each other in terms of ways to watch their conventions online. To start, the Democratic Party has unveiled livestreaming plans that will let you watch its National Convention on seemingly every modern platform under the Sun. On top of Twitter and its own site, the party will stream through Bing, YouTube and... Twitch. That's right -- you can witness an important part of the electoral process in between League of Legends and Overwatch viewing sessions. The convention will also be live on Amazon's Fire TV, the Apple TV, Roku players and your Xbox, in case you'd rather see the nominations on a big screen.

  • Cortana won't let you search with Google in Windows 10

    by 
    Billy Steele
    Billy Steele
    04.29.2016

    In what may come as no surprise, Microsoft won't let you use Cortana to perform a Google search anymore. While the digital assistant was capable of using a third-party search engine on Windows 10, the company announced this week that the "result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable." So, to ensure that everything works well, Microsoft will only allow Cortana to launch the new Edge browser and find answers via Bing.

  • Microsoft grounds its AI chat bot after it learns racism

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    03.24.2016

    Microsoft's Tay AI is youthful beyond just its vaguely hip-sounding dialogue -- it's overly impressionable, too. The company has grounded its Twitter chat bot (that is, temporarily shutting it down) after people taught it to repeat conspiracy theories, racist views and sexist remarks. We won't echo them here, but they involved 9/11, GamerGate, Hitler, Jews, Trump and less-than-respectful portrayals of President Obama. Yeah, it was that bad. The account is visible as we write this, but the offending tweets are gone; Tay has gone to "sleep" for now.

  • Bing's big mobile search update comes to Android

    by 
    Nathan Ingraham
    Nathan Ingraham
    02.04.2016

    Last fall, Microsoft rolled out a major update to its Bing app for the iPhone. The big change was the realization that searching on a smartphone usually means you want immediate answers to questions while you're out and about, so Bing put all the data from its Knowledge and Action Graph right up front. In our testing, it felt like a superior search experience and something comparable with what Google's doing with its own mobile app. Now, Microsoft has pushed that new experience to Android phones with the new Bing app that just hit Google Play. Whether or not you'll want to switch it up from the default Google search experience remains to be seen, but it's an app that's at least worth taking a look at.

  • Bing Maps' traffic cam views let you preview your commute

    by 
    Billy Steele
    Billy Steele
    11.24.2015

    When you switch on the traffic layer in Bing Maps, you'll now get a lot more info than color-coded route details. On top of letting you know how bad (or good) traffic is along your route, Bing allows you to see where traffic cameras are for a look at that commute. You can also check multiple cameras at the same time if you want to take a glance at the places where you typically encounter delays along the way. Like Google Maps and other navigation apps, Bing Maps already let you know if you should expect a backup, and now you can take a look at the congestion, or lack thereof, for yourself with this latest addition.

  • Bing for iPhone makes it easy to jump from search straight to your apps

    by 
    Nathan Ingraham
    Nathan Ingraham
    11.18.2015

    As Windows Phone continues to struggle, Microsoft has turned its focus towards making its trademark services like Office, Outlook and Bing available on Android and iOS. Today, the Bing app for the iPhone is getting a major update to better reflect how users want to search when on their phones, something that's been an increasing priority for Google as well. Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's GM of search, says that when he thinks how about mobile search differs from the desktop, the traditional list of search results that can get you eventually to an answer to a query aren't useful. "I just want an answer," Gavin says, "and I want to take that answer into an action, typically with some sense of urgency." To that end, Bing for iPhone puts the data from Microsoft's Knowledge and Action Graph right up front, alongside deep links right into the apps on your phone that'll let you complete the desired action using the tools you're used to.

  • Google will provide some of Yahoo's search results

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    10.20.2015

    Yahoo clearly isn't wasting time now that it's free to partner with search firms besides Microsoft. The internet pioneer has revealed a partnership that will have Google providing some search results (including images) and search-based ads. It's not certain just how many queries the crew in Mountain View will handle, but the deal is "non-exclusive." If it wants, Yahoo can draw on Microsoft's Bing or any other provider. The pact lasts until the end of 2018, too, so the company isn't committed on the same level as it was when it struck the Bing deal in 2009.

  • Recommended Reading: Microsoft's knack for predicting NFL games

    by 
    Billy Steele
    Billy Steele
    10.03.2015

    Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read. How Microsoft Got So Good at Predicting Who Will Win NFL Games by Tim Stenovec Tech Insider Have you been using Bing's sports predictions to make "friendly wagers" and set your fantasy lineups this football season? Microsoft's Bing Predicts team has been picking winners for NFL games, other sporting events, reality shows and elections for a while now. As it turns out, the small group of researchers employ machine learning to make the predictions and they've gotten better at it over time.

  • Bing wants to help you win a fantasy football championship this season

    by 
    Billy Steele
    Billy Steele
    08.31.2015

    Our own Aaron Souppouris put Cortana to work betting on English Premier League matches last season, and now Bing wants to offer more help with NFL action. Microsoft's search software has been making sports-related predictions for some time now, and this season it wants to help you dominate that fantasy football league. To lend a hand in selecting your lineup each week, Bing will offer updated player projections and suggestions for free agent pickups. Sure, ESPN, Yahoo and others already serve up a similar collection of weekly rankings, but Microsoft's search engine has a decent track record when it comes to sports (and Oscar) predictions. Bing will continue to predict games every week, much like Cortana has done since the start of last season. It'll also give you updated team power rankings every Tuesday alongside updated projections on your team's postseason chances. And as you might expect, it wants to be your home for states and other game-related info while you watch at home. You can put Bing to the test when the NFL season kicks off Thursday, September 10th. [Image credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images]

  • Bing beats Google Now to system-wide contextual search

    by 
    Nick Summers
    Nick Summers
    08.20.2015

    If you can't wait for Android Marshmallow, Microsoft is offering an alternative for one of its most highly anticipated features. With the Bing Search app installed, you can now get "snapshots" by long-pressing on the home button, just as you would to launch Google Now on Tap. Microsoft's search engine will then scan what's on the page and bring up a small overlay card with useful information and shortcuts to related apps. So if you're watching the trailer for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, for instance, you'll get its current IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes ratings, as well as an option to order tickets with Fandango. At the moment the feature is only supported in the US, and you'll need to download the app to get started -- unlike Google's offering -- which will almost certainly curb its popularity. Still, if you're curious to see what Google Now on Tap is all about, this is a good preview.

  • Living with Cortana, Windows 10's thoughtful, flaky assistant

    by 
    Chris Velazco
    Chris Velazco
    07.30.2015

    "Hey Cortana, give me a printout of Oyster smiling." It's a joke, couched in a bit of memetic stoner humor, but I couldn't help myself. After all, Cortana -- the digital assistant baked into Windows 10 -- feels like a potent mashup of Google Now's worldliness and Siri's charm. Scheduling reminders? Check. Opening apps? Done. Proffering weather forecasts? You get where I'm going with this. I was almost surprised that she (sorry, "it") didn't humor my lousy attempt at a joke because Microsoft agonized over how to give Cortana a personality, to make it feel like more than just a talented, algorithmic guesser in the cloud. I've spent the last week of my life talking to Cortana, asking it harebrained questions along with proper requests, and you know what? The company succeeded, mostly.

  • Microsoft makes it way easier to report revenge porn

    by 
    Chris Velazco
    Chris Velazco
    07.22.2015

    Revenge porn is disgusting, destructive and getting to be tragically common, so much so that titans of the web have been cooking up ways to deal with it. Microsoft is the latest to join the fray, as it just joined Google in giving victims a way to shut down illicit stuff they don't want seen. Starting today, people can fill out a form on Microsoft's support site to flag the content in question, confirm that they didn't want whatever it was to be distributed in the first place and provide legal documentation if they've got it.

  • Bing makes it easier to scope out your future neighborhood

    by 
    Edgar Alvarez
    Edgar Alvarez
    07.17.2015

    Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are constantly working to make the best possible search engine, and that's great news for you. The more they challenge each other with new features, the better your experience on the web will be. Today is Bing's turn to make an announcement, revealing a set of features that will be helpful for people who are moving to a new place. So not only can you search for a house or an apartment, but also learn about their neighborhood and the services located around them -- such as schools and hospitals. Once you find an area you're interested in, Bing will show you ratings, rankings and other detailed information regarding each place; the company says this is pulled from a variety of trusted sources, like Zillow.com and GreatSchools.org. Right now, it's is limited to users in the US, but chances are it'll be expanding to more countries later on.

  • Bing Maps adds trip-planning tools and easy access to reviews

    by 
    Billy Steele
    Billy Steele
    07.06.2015

    If you prefer Bing Maps as your go-to navigation tool, the software's preview version received a big redesign. Focused primarily on helping you plan trips, a load of new features aim to make it easier to search, view and share multiple destinations easily. Bing Maps Preview will pull in reviews and photos from Yelp in its search results, so you'll have quick access to suggestions when traveling in an unfamiliar locale. When it comes to planning an evening out, for example, there's a new card-based format to keep each stop a few taps away. For those entries, hours, useful details and similar options nearby are all included. Bing also employs predictive routing to help you determine the best time to head, showing you what traffic would be like for a specific time of day.

  • Bing Pong is a wonderful, terrible distraction from your searches

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    07.02.2015

    We hope you aren't curious about Nolan Bushnell's game development history... you may find yourself sucked into a time sink. Microsoft has quietly added an option to play Pong in Bing (Bing Pong, get it?) if you search for the digital table tennis classic in your browser. It's not a novel concept, and it certainly isn't the most advanced -- Google's Cube Slam experiment is on another level. It's surprisingly addictive, however, and might offer just the right amount of '70s gaming nostalgia to tide you over when you're stuck at work.

  • Uber picked up some of Bing's mapping tech and employees (update)

    by 
    Timothy J. Seppala
    Timothy J. Seppala
    06.29.2015

    It turns out that Uber's desire for mapping tech didn't really stop with Nokia's Here maps. The ride-sharing platform just picked up a portion of Microsoft's Bing maps technologies and about 100 of Redmond's employees as TechCrunch tells it. The way that TC describes the deal, the employees that Uber is absorbing were responsible for putting image data into the search engine (aerial, 3D and street footage, apparently) and the folks'll likely be doing the same task at their new employer. What's that mean for you? Well, that the map display in Uber's app is probably going to get a bit more detailed now, hopefully making it easier for your driver to figure out exactly where you are. Nah, they'll still likely drive around in circles while you watch in frustration.

  • Bing's smarter video search is big on music

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    06.21.2015

    Microsoft knows that Bing's video search looks more than a little outdated in an era when YouTube frequently doubles as a music player. Accordingly, it's giving the feature a much-needed makeover. The new page puts a much stronger emphasis on music videos -- search for a recognizable tune and you'll get an extra-large video that will play in place. The upgrade also moves related searches in-line with the original, so you'll have a better shot at finding that elusive cover song or remix.