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Video: Bing Feature Update: Check out top city attractions before you go Bing always touts itself as the decision engine, and a question which comes up very often is “What should we do today.” Bing plans to make that easy with its new attractions pages, which pulls together details on top city attractions like the Space Needle or the Smithsonian so you can quickly find the information you’re looking for. The service includes everything you need to plan your excursion – including reviews, events and photos. To ensure you have up-to-the-minute information, Bing is teaming closely with leading content providers including Frommers, TripAdvisor, WCities and Zvents. The Bing database contains more that 50,000 attractions all around the world, filtered automatically by your location. See the page in action in the video above, and try it for yourself here. ...

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If I were Google I would be very very afraid.  Experian Hitwise reports that Bing has has increased its total market share, including searches delivered by Yahoo by 1.04% to 28.48% of the market, up 4% month on month. Bing itself grew market share by 0.68%, a growth of 5% month. It is not hard to see why.  Further research by Hitwise shows more than 80% of searches resulted in a website visit using Bing and Yahoo, while only 65% of Google searches resulted in a website visit, likely due to Google’s increasingly polluted results. 1% search market share has been valued at around $1 billion worth in value, so it is appropriate that Google, who lost nearly 1.26% market share, saw its market cap drop from $200 billion on the 11th February to $185 billion on the 11th March with the release of the numbers. Of course Microsoft is ...

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Microsoft must have a bee in their bonnet about their Xbox Live network quality, as they are rolling out  an Xbox Live testing program called Xbox Live Labs. The optional app, which can be found in the Community Channel is solely for the purpose of testing and improving the service. Microsoft is rewarding this altruism with three Avatar items and three zero point achievements that one can earn for each completed test, including a lab coat, brain helmet, and crazy mad scientist hair. The tests run from March 10-27 and is open to all Xbox LIVE members living in the United States. Of note is that the tests run for several hours, and while running Xbox LIVE activities, such as gaming, watching movies or downloading music will not be available, and it may slow down one’s internet connection. Read more at Major Nelson’s blog here. ...

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Microsoft Research has posted a video demonstrating their new real time face and pose recognition software. The OneVision technology indexes an entire movie frame by frame, tagging individuals along the way, and can cope with low resolution images at a distance, ideal for something like Kinect for example. The technology also works with multiple people in the frame, and I suspect it will not be long before it finds a place in the next Xbox Kinect game. Read more about it at Technet.com here. Via TheNextWeb.com ...

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Its easy to forget Windows Live is the biggest IM network in the world, with over 300 million users. Facebook however everyone has heard of, and it will serve as a bit of a reminder of WLM’s scale that it is now the 2nd biggest app on the massive social network, only second to CityVille from Zynga and ahead of the notorious Farmville. Even better, according to  AppData stats collected by newsgrange.com while WLM is on its way up, adding 300,000 over the last week, CityVille is on its way down, losing almost 600,000 users over the same period. Windows Live Messenger integrates with Facebook, allowing Facebook chat access and also updates with a much better interface than available on the website itself. Hopefully the ascendancy of the app will remind others that Microsoft still has a very relevant product. Via theNextweb.com ...

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Analyst Michael Pachter with US investment house Wedbush has told CVG.com that he expects price cuts in all the major consoles to come soon, led by the Xbox 360 and Kinect. "We believe that Microsoft is in the driver’s seat on pricing, and believe that the company may consider a price cut for the core console plus Kinect to under $300 in June, which could allow it to extend its monthly sales lead throughout 2011. Pachter notes that the other competing consoles have not been doing as well, but that they will be forced to follow along. "A console price cut from Microsoft would almost certainly prompt its competitors to follow suit, and we are confident that by holiday 2011, all three consoles will be at least $50 cheaper than they are today." The Xbox 360 has been the top selling US console for most of 2010, until it was ...

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Click for large version A leaked slide for analyst company Morgan Stanley appear to confirm that Windows 8 tablets based in ARM chipsets are expected to arrive only in Q1 2012. This is consistent with  leaked roadmap from Dell which indicated the same thing, and is likely what Microsoft is telling their partners. Windows8beta reports on a comment from Michael Gartenberg, an analyst for research firm Gartner, who  said“If 2011 is the year of the tablet wars, Microsoft will be awfully late suiting up for that battle. It’s not a good position to be in. [....] Battle lines are being drawn, land is being grabbed, users are being evangelized and spending money” , so Microsoft has to rely on HP Slate and Asus Eee Slate which runs on Windows 7 until Windows 8 for tablets is released. On the other hand Microsoft has a history of coming from behind by ...

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While Kinect has been a clear hit with more than 8 million sold, there is one demographic which has not been so enthused by the Xbox 360 accessory. Hardcore twitch games have found games like Dance Central and Kinect Sports not exactly to their taste, but Kevin Unangst, senior producer of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, have some good news for this core group. "There are many [hardcore games] coming," he said. "We’re not even a hundred days since we launched Kinect yet. It was very intentional with Kinect to go out and deliver blockbusters like Kinect Sports and Dance Central – games that resonated with a broader audience." "This is sort of scratching the surface of what’s happening, but we’ve got Child of Eden here today, we’ve got Twisted Pixel’s Gunstringer… and certainly you’re going to see more. Apparently what has been seen so far is just the beginning of ...

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Microsoft is expected to make a major announcement on March 15th 2011, but so far no-one is the wiser about the actual topic or content. Various blogs note the major news of the quarter have already been announced, such as Windows phone 7 updates, IE9 RC and so forth, which leaves precious little to get excited about. On the other hand it is of note that Microsoft will be having a number of sessions around cloud computing and Health Vault, Microsoft’s Online health record keeping service,  on that same day, so while the topic may be exciting for IT managers we expect most consumers will end up rather the opposite. But who knows, maybe Microsoft does have something sexy under a tarp, ready to expose to the world. Maybe its all about Facebook shutting down on the same day?  :)  Do any of our readers have any inside info? Let ...

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CloudSleuth has been running some independent tests on the cloud services provided by 5 leading companies; Microsoft Windows Azure, Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, GoGrid and RackSpace. The tests were run using clients located on 150,000 end user computers  requesting two complex web pages from applications  CloudSleuth uploaded to each cloud service and was run during December 2010. The test found Microsoft Azure led the pack, offering users the fastest response times for a standard e-commerce application followed closely by Google App Engine, then GoGrid, Amazon EC2 and in last place RackSpace. Microsoft Windows Azure is one of the many initiatives that the company is launching to say relevant for the next 10 years of computing, with Microsoft spending more than a billion dollars to build server farms last year. Read more at Information Week here. ...

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Microsoft is claiming Xbox Live gamers in UK spend on average £64 (around $100) per month on games. The numbers come from a small survey of 251 UK Xbox 360 gamers aged between 25 and 34 years old. The most popular games are shooters, followed by racing and RPGs. One third of Xbox Live gamers play casual games or MMOs, and over a third play gambling titles. 360 gamers go online almost every day each week – by contrast, the average male checks websites five days a week. Microsoft is touting Xbox gamers as attractive targets for marketers, saying they are higher earners, obviously big spenders, and very engaged. “Earning a higher wage, being advocates of premium goods and over half playing for more than three hours each day, this provides firms with a profile from which they can base their message.” “Compared against the average male, gamers represent an ...

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A leaked wallpaper encouraging Microsoft developers not to … leak… Microsoft is ploughing forward with their plan to use a desktop OS as their tablet operating system, but that does not mean they are not up to the challenge. Their latest effort to make Windows 8 more like a mobile OS is the ability to restore the OS to factory settings, a life saver for many  a smartphone user in the past.  Apparently the process to restore the device will only take 2 minutes, and will not take up a massive amount of disk space. Likely related to this is the ability to install the whole OS in 3-8 minutes, rather than the 25 minute minimum required these days. Windows8beta also mention other features familiar to Windows Phone 8, like login using your Live ID, a multi-touch UI and a app store. Read more about these other features, which does ...

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Unusual bedfellows Microsoft and Google have joined forces and have jointly asked the Delaware circuit court to invalidate a 1999 patent held by GeoTag, a shady company who’s main asset is a $119 million patent for "Internet organizer for accessing geographically and topically based information". Microsoft and Google asked for declaration of invalidity of the patent asserted, judgment that Google’s and Microsoft’s customers do not infringe any valid claim of the patent, and "a preliminary and permanent injunction precluding GeoTag [and affiliated persons and entities] from suing for infringement or otherwise asserting infringement of the [patent in question] against customers of [Microsoft's and Google's] Mapping Services for store locators or other locators on websites." GeoTag has been using this patent to sue up to 397 different companies, many of them clients of Microsoft’s and Google’s Bing service, and if Microsoft and Google fail, they are likely to be next in ...

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Many still believe Microsoft is just about desktops, but Microsoft has been quietly winning market share in the server market also, despite the competition from the Unix-based operating systems. IDC reports Windows Server has increased its market share by revenue to 42.1%, , far ahead of its nearest rival, Unix, at 25.6% and Linux at 17%. IDC notes that Microsoft Windows server demand was positively impacted by the x86 server market refresh as hardware revenue increased 16.8% year over year. Windows servers generated Quarterly revenue of $6.3 billion for represented 42.1% of overall quarterly factory revenue from the shipment of 1.5 million servers, the highest quarterly total ever reported for Windows servers. Read more at IDC here. ...

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Dharmesh Mehta, the director of Windows Live Product Management, has announced that Windows Live Mesh has reached the 5 millionth connected device milestone. He notes the service now has over 3 million users and have synced 2.2 petabytes to the cloud. Live Mesh has had a chequered history, being one of the first cloud syncing P2P solutions, but being hampered by low online storage and lack of multi-platform clients, particularly mobile. The original ambition saw the service being widely available not just on PC’s, but also printers and picture frames and mobile devices. This ambition has never come to fruition however. The service was folded into the Live Sync umbrella but never properly integrated, and support for Windows Mobile was discontinued last year, and of course the service has no role in Windows phone 7 at all. At present Live Mesh is being overshadowed by Dropbox, while offering much of ...

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IE9 just went RC a few weeks ago, but now MSDNIndia has tweeted that the updated, browser-accelerated, HTML5 supporting and most standard-compliant browser from Microsoft ever is set to be launched at Tech.Ed India on the 24th March 2011. The RC has been downloaded more than 36 million times so far. Of course it is not clear if this event will just celebrate the RC or the launch of the final version, but given how polished the software is already we expect the final build will not be long in coming. Microsoft Tech·Ed India 2011, a 3 day event, will be held at Bangalore between March 23 – 25, 2011. Via  www.thewindowsclub.com ...

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