Microsoft revealed the Cortana digital assistant platform at BUILD developer conference earlier this month. Behind the scenes, its Microsoft’s Bing platform that powers Cortana. Even though Cortana responds based on your intent and behavior now, MSR expects it to interact in an increasingly anticipatory, natural manner in the future. Microsoft Research detailed some of the technologies involved in building Cortana. Even though many of us would just categorize them under Artificial Intelligence label, Microsoft Research has detailed all of those technologies involved. Speech recognition, Semantic/natural language processing, Dialogue modeling between human and machines, Spoken-language generation, Microsoft Research has used all of the above base technologies for a creating a virtual personal assistant based on the work they have done in different areas of personal-assistant technology. Cortana’s design philosophy is therefore entrenched in state-of-the-art machine-learning and data-mining algorithms. Furthermore both developers and researchers are able to use Microsoft’s broad assets across ...

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At Microsoft BUILD developer conference last week, Microsoft had a separate session for Xbox Music developers. Microsoft discussed about Xbox Music, its current developer program and the upcoming developer features and more. Microsoft did a comparison of Xbox Music with other competing services. As you can see in the image above, Microsoft has got all boxes ticked, now it needs users! The current Xbox Music developer program allows developers to use rich metadata from Xbox Music using simple JSON or XML responses. Also there is a affiliate program via which developers can earn money through Xbox Music. Microsoft also announced a preview of upcoming Xbox Music developer program features. It allows developers to use music for inline playback and offline playback, content to remix and more. Get started with Xbox Music developer, you can find information from the above image. Xbox Music delivers all the music you love, on all your ...

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Microsoft invested around $300 million into Barnes and Nobel’s Nook platform. “As demand for digital content continues to increase, we are focused on bringing ground-breaking reading and learning content and technologies to more people in more formats than ever before, including the imminent launch of our exceptional NOOK reading application for Windows 8,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble during the announcement of the agreement. “NOOK Media is a leader in developing the next generation of digital reading and we look forward to the company bringing one of the world’s largest digital libraries to Windows 8 devices via their upcoming Windows 8 app,” commented Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. Ever since the announcement, Nook is facing great challenges in the e-book market and they are updating their agreement with Microsoft. Thanks to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, new 8-K filing by Barnes & Noble has all the details of the updated ...

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This is not really a surprise information. Washington Post today reported that Microsoft handed out promotional materials Thursday at CPAC, the annual conference for conservatives to promote its advertising system for targeting political ads. Microsoft runs some key web based properties like  Xbox Live, Skype, MSN and other which can be used for advertising. Microsoft is building a profile based on you and the selected ads specific to demographic categories, or to specific congressional districts will be targeted towards with the help of your profile.  The ads, which would appear on the Xbox Live dashboard and other Microsoft products, combine Microsoft user IDs and other public data to build a profile of Xbox users. Campaigns can then blast ads to selected demographic categories, or to specific congressional districts. And if the campaign brings its own list of voter e-mail addresses, Microsoft can match the additional data with individual customer accounts ...

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Kobo was one of the first e-reading service that released their app on Windows platform. But the app was pulled few months back due to poor UX and performance. Kobo has today relaunched their app with all new design and user experience. Description: With Kobo, you can read on your Windows device anywhere, anytime. Download the Kobo app and browse from over 3.5 million free and affordable eBooks, comics and children’s books. Features: Pick up right where you left off. We’ll sync your bookmarks so you can keep reading across all your devices. Customize your reading experience. Enjoy crisp, clear text, in the size and style you prefer; try Night Mode for easier nighttime reading; and lock the screen in portrait or landscape mode to read how Enjoy first chapter previews for thousands of select books and save them in your library. Get access to more than 3.5M titles in ...

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At MS-News, we are fans of Hal who writes a great blog entitled Hal2020. For those not familiar with Mr. Berenson, he is a former Microsoft distinguished engineer and worked at the company from 1994 – 2002 and spent decades at the Digital Equipment Corporation before that. He often writes about Microsoft’s products, people and policies. Today, he wrote a blog post titled “Now I get it, the Consumer guys at Microsoft are just plain wrong!” in which he criticized Windows platform’s “shut up and ship” policy as opposed to older ways of engaging with platform developers in advance. For example, Windows Azure is now following the rapid release cadence and public previews releasing every few weeks. On the contrary, Windows and Windows Phone releases are closely guarded till its release leaving little time for developers to jump in to the new platform. Let me contrast three strategic thrusts going on at Microsoft.  ...

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  Earlier this week, we reported that Microsoft is working on a groundbreaking interactive reading platform for Windows. It was revealed by a Microsoft career listing for the job of Software Development Engineer on the Music, Video, Reading (MVR) team. It stated, “As an SDE, you will be on the team building a groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics”. Amazon is a market leader in e-reading market and Microsoft has to offer something more compelling to move people away from Amazon. Two of the recent Microsoft patents reveals possible direction in which Microsoft’s upcoming E-reader architecture will look like. Read the abstracts below, it sounds interesting. The second para describes the good old Courier’s leaked video with the cloud storage concept. E-reader architecture with rich service infrastructure for identity, storage, protection, commercial exchange, and sharing of content is provided. The architecture may enable consumption of content ...

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We have seen many rumors and reports in the past that Microsoft will enable WinRT apps to run on Xbox One. It is almost confirmed today by the code leak by SuperDaE. The image above shows the supposedly leaked copy of Homefront 2 for Xbox One source code file list. As you can see, it has AppxManifest.xml file that indicates us that it is a WinRT app. Windows 8 apps in Windows Store has similar file arrangement. And DurangoConfig.xml and DurangoLauncher.exe could be the files used by Xbox One to launch these kind of new apps. Microsoft is still maintaining the silence about the details on the 3rd party app/games development in Xbox One. But they last week confirmed that self publishing is coming to Xbox One. Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage ...

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