Microsoft unveiled new changes to how its Bing search engine displays results, a major revamp whose aim is to take market share away from Google. The biggest new feature integrates Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to search queries. For example, a new column will give users who are logged into Facebook the ability to see their friends’ recommendations based on their searches. The revamped search engine will be rolled out within the next few days.
Microsoft showed off its upcoming operating system Windows 8 today and released it for a consumer preview. It offers a completely different user experience than what most are familiar with (read: no traditional task bar on the desktop–although the option still is available to run existing programs). Utilizing a dramatic new look and feel than previous versions of Windows, it sports the sleek “Metro” interface that’s already on Microsoft’s mobile platform. Just as on phones and tablets, navigating through menus and apps can be done through swiping and selecting tiles.
A study was just released that says the U.S. saw an estimated 466,000 new jobs through app development for smartphones and tablets. The popularity of devices running Apple iOS, Android and other mobile platforms is playing a big role in helping create what’s called the “app economy” since the iPhone was introduced in 2007.
The study “Where the Jobs Are: The App Economy”, conducted for Technet by economist Dr. Michael Mandel, says the number doesn’t just account for developers and designers, but also includes the related non-tech jobs like marketers and support staff. Expanding usage of smartphones and social networks means that we’ll see even more rapid growth in the app economy in coming years.
And speaking of mobile apps, Microsoft announced this week that the next update of its Dynamics CRM platform will include support for mobile devices. The update, which is expected in May, will have specific versions for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7, and will satisfy a growing demand among sales, marketing and service professionals.
For the developers out there, check out our Mobile App job openings!
According the Zend Technologies 61% of the 3,335 developers they surveyed plan to use public cloud services this year. 30% said they’d select Amazon’s Web Services while 6% named Microsoft’s Azure. So, what types of projects are heading to the cloud? It appears 66% of the developers will build Mobile applications and Big Data projects will land there for 40% of those surveyed.
Along with SkyDrive (Storage) and OneNote (Business) Microsoft has moved into iOS gaming with Kinectimals. The iOS version of the children’s game mimics the Xbox 360 version which takes advantage of the Kinect motion-sensing control system. Microsoft is rapidly moving a variety of applications onto the iOS platform.
Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage is available to iOS devices. To get your free 25GB, download the App and sign in using your Hotmail or Windows Live credentials. Once connected, you can access files, check OneNote notes, and stream music stored on SkyDrive.
According to ComScore, Microsoft’s Bing edged up and roughly matched Yahoo with 2.7 billion search queries in November. Both search engines signaficantly trailed Google which serviced 11.7 billion searches.
It appears Microsoft is readying a version of it’s Office software for the iPad. Office for iPad would compete against Apple’s productivity suite (Numbers, Pages, and Keynote). More to the point, Office for the iPad will provide another incentive for businesses to move from PCs to Tablets.
What makes a PC a PC? The processor? The OS? The applications it runs? This is the debate emerging around the the iPad and tablets. Is the Tablet a post-PC device or part of the PCs evolution? The debate may be moot because Apple is selling millions of iPads. So many in fact, when combined with Mac sales Apple is poised to overtake HP as the number #1 PC vendor in 2012.
It appears Microsoft may follow in the footsteps of Adobe and take Silverlight dark after release 5. As HTML5 rolls out, browser plugins designed to play back rich web media become less relevant. Microsoft has indicated its view that HTML5 is the future.
Apple delivers its first update for iOS 5 “over the air”. This feature officially decouples iOS devices from iTunes and PCs for updates. The iOS 5.0.1 update is targeted at improving battery life, multitasking gestures, and other bugs.
DropBox’s popular cloud storage service is expanding from individuals to groups. DropBox for Teams starts with a shared 1TB storage pool for five users. The service enables administrators to add or delete users and offers dedicated phone support.
This week Adobe announced the beginning of the end for Flash on mobile devices. Acknowledging growing support for HTML5, Adobe will focus on Adobe Air for mobile App Stores and cease development of Flash for mobile browsers.
Apple’s Siri voice technology has shifted our attention from touching screens to voice commands. This week we learned Amazon quietly moved into voice technology by acquiring Yap in September. Yap’s technology transcribes voice commands and voices messages into text. Yap shut down services on October 20.
Are we losing the scrollbar? According to Slate, scrollbars may disappearing. It seems Apple, Goggle, Facebook, and Microsoft are either removing, fading, or altering the scrollbar. It begs the question, if the scrollbar goes away what’s next, the cursor?