Microsoft Translation In Real-Time Over Skype

skype-translation-real-time Last night at the Re/Code Conference, Microsoft demoed real-time translation over Skype. Imagine talking to someone over a video call, they spoke a completely different language than you did, but the technology did real time translation as you spoke. Microsoft has a beta they demonstrated last night at the conference. Gurdeep Pall, Corporate Vice President of Skype and Lync at Microsoft conducted the demo in front of the audience. The demo worked pretty well, although I do not speak German. The demo showed a "near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, com [...]

Microsoft Security Patch Marked As Malware

computer-virus-malware-featured Some of those who use Microsoft security software received a security patch a couple days ago that lead to malware warnings for users trying to visit Softpedia posted a picture of the warning. Microsoft quickly learned about the issue on their support forums and issued a patch yesterday to address the issue. Microsoft didn't explain it was a Google specific issue but said: On February 14, 2012, an incorrect detection for Exploit:JS/Blacole.BW was introduced. On February 14, 2012, Microsoft released an update that addresses the issue. Signature versions 1.119.1988.0 and high [...]

Microsoft Swaps Daily Deals Brand: It’s Now “MSN Offers”

Screen shot 2011-11-23 at 9.31.51 AM In something of a surprise move, Microsoft has renamed its daily deals product and shifted the brand to MSN. It was "Bing Deals." Now it's MSN Offers. Apparently the change was the result of an effort to clear up perceived confusion. A press release went out but I discovered this through my in-box.'s deals site aggregates retail and e-commerce sales information from many sources across the US. Microsoft apparently wants to separate that content from local daily deals. However the local daily deals are still accessible from the Bing/deals site (see upper left tile in screenshot [...]

Microsoft’s Is Alive & Well & Turning Search Results Into Social Content

microsoft-logo Microsoft's search/social hybrid project is alive and well and, if current reports are to be believed, may be headed toward some kind of private beta test in the near future. If you were with us back in July, you might recall the small firestorm that burned for a couple days after news spread about At the time, it was called Tulalip and, when Microsoft published a very early version of the site, the home page promised a way to "Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever." At the time, Microsoft described it as an "internal project" and said publishing it was an [...]

Microsoft Tulalip: Is A New Social/Search Hybrid On The Way? It appears that Microsoft is planning a new project called Tulalip and could be positioning it as a hybrid search/social networking service. First reported by Fusible, Tulalip currently sits on the domain, which is owned by Microsoft. You can see the WHOIS record on DomainTools to confirm. Tulalip currently only offers a "welcome" message that explains itself this way: With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever. There's a non-functioning search box at the top of the page, preceded (mysteriously) by the word "OPEN." There ar [...]

Could You Turn A Windows 8 Smartphone Into A Windows 8 Computer?

One of the most interesting things out of Microsoft's demo of Windows 8 yesterday that future tablets could easily be turned into fully functional Windows computers, since the OS is the same. But how about Windows 8 phones? Could you do that too? Would you interpret a smile from Windows president Steven Sinofsky to be a yes? Sinofsky, along with corporate vice president Julie Larson-Green, opened the Windows 8 kimono at the D9 Conference yesterday. You'll find plenty of coverage over at Techmeme about the news. Perhaps most interesting was the idea that Windows 8 would work on tablets and l [...]

Greenpeace: Google, Microsoft & Other Online Giants Need Greener Data Centers

Greenpeace has issued a report warning of the ballooning energy needs of data centers feeding cloud computing. It is intended to encourage cloud providers to choose cleaner energy sources, and it does not beat up overly on Google, Amazon, Salesforce, MicroSoft, Facebook, and Yahoo!. But, it is a mixed report card, may indicate an important trend.

New MSN Out Of Beta, Driving Nearly 50 Percent Of Bing Queries

Microsoft is formally launching its much improved MSN portal today. I wrote about the preview version and the wide range of improvements when it first came out in November. There are lots of  interesting elements to the site, including the "local edition," which is basically a collection of persistent Bing search queries presented in a structured and browse-able way. Bob Visse, GM for MSN at Microsoft, told me that over the course of the beta period, the company had tweaked the Bing search box and its presentation at the top of the page -- the blue outline; the subtle blue gradient at the [...]

MSN Introduces Dramatically Improved Redesign, Portal Drives Nearly 50% Of Bing Queries

Billed as the first major redesign in a decade, Microsoft has introduced a dramatic new look and feel for the MSN portal. The redesign simplifies and cleans up most elements on the site. Among other things, it makes video more central, incorporates Facebook and Twitter, creates a dedicated new local area and emphasizes search. MSN, which Microsoft says now has 600 million users globally (which would make it larger than Yahoo), is a huge asset for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it drives roughly 45% of Bing's queries. Even a cursory look at the old and new MSN h [...]

Google’s Android Coming To Netbooks Via Acer

Acer to Produce Netbook Using Google Operating System from the Wall Street Journal reports that Google's Android operating system, used on Google Phones, will be shipped on Acer's Netbooks. The new low-cost computers will ship in the third quarter of this year. This does not mean Acer will stop shipping computers with Windows, it just gives Acer an alternative low-cost option for their Netbooks. We knew this was coming when Greg wrote, Report: Android OS Coming To Netbooks. There are also rumors that Dell's netbooks will run Android in the future. [...]

Microsoft Shutting Down QnA, Questions & Answers Site

LiveSide reports Microsoft has decided to close down the Question and Answer portal, MSN QnA as of May 21st. Microsoft said: At this time, we are closing the QnA site, but the experience of running QnA and gathering all of the great feedback you’ve shared with us will certainly influence future product direction. QnA initially launched as a beta in August 2006 and we even rated it fairly well in December 2006. QnA had a major upgrade about a year ago today. Google had their own Questions and Answers which they closed down in 2006. Yahoo Answers is still very dominate in this a [...]

Microsoft Aiming For ‘More Disruption’ In Search

Next month Microsoft will relaunch its search engine or launch its new search engine (currently dubbed Kumo/Kiev) together with a new marketing campaign to promote it. The question on everyone's minds is: will it change anything? Despite a range of efforts so far Redmond has not been able to boost its market share in search. Speaking yesterday at Stanford University, where he attended business school, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said: "We are going to have to be more disruptive" in search. Cashback is part of that equation for Microsoft -- as in disruption of the traditional advertising [...]

Microsoft Goes Social (& Local) With Vine

Microsoft is launching Vine today as a limited beta in Seattle only. It's an interesting local/social communications and information tool that plays in the same sandbox as both Twitter and Facebook, and also competes to a degree with online news sites. Vine is Windows-only software that's intended to sit open on your desktop so that users can keep in touch with people, events, and news happening around them. Microsoft is providing printable invite cards so users can get more out of the app by having friends and family in the beta, as well. Vine's dashboard shows a map of your area and th [...]

“Heard” Mentality: Twitter In Acquisition Talks Or Not?

TechCrunch reported late last night that Twitter was in late stage talks to be acquired by Google. That sent what used to be called the "blogosphere" into a frenzy. Kara Swisher, of AllThingsD, striking back against what she believes was sloppy journalism (and TechCrunch more generally), said no: In fact, Twitter and Google have simply been engaged in "some product-related discussions," according to one source, around real-time search and the search giant better crawling the microblogging service. Said a source close to Twitter: "There was a discussion with [Google executive Marissa Mayer' [...]

Searching For Healthcare Solutions: Electronic Health Records Initiative Faces Significant Obstacles

When the long rumored Google Health was announced in early 2008, it appeared to be a very ambitious initiative that had a mountain to climb. That mountain was participation: getting individuals, doctors and hospitals to digitize their records. Then there are the myriad privacy and data security issues. But Google isn't the only one in the electronic health records and "health search" game. So is Microsoft. There are scores of others in the segment, as well as billions spent annually in advertising. Despite the money and involvement of companies like Microsoft and Google, digitizing the nati [...]

Report: Android OS Coming To Netbooks

Most of the bestselling laptops on Amazon's computer bestseller list are so-called netbooks, computers which have little memory, are highly compact and more affordable than traditional laptops. Lighter and smaller, they're largely for mobility and internet use. Their appearance and popularity are are consistent with trends toward "cloud computing" (e.g., Google Apps) and mobile internet access (i.e., iPhone/Android). Many of these computers run the Microsoft XP OS but many run Linux. Now it appears Android is eying this market as well, according to a report appearing in VentureBeat, which p [...]

Dilbert’s Scott Adams: Will Google Replace Your Doctor?

Can a search engine accurately diagnose health problems? Can it someday replace your doctor? Questions like this aren't new, but the discussion has gotten a bit louder in recent weeks. Just a couple weeks ago, I reported on a Microsoft investigation of cyberchondria, when inaccurate medical information online makes actual health problems worse. On Friday, Dilbert cartoon creator Scott Adams shared a different point of view, telling blog readers how Google helped him find treatment for a speech defect known as Spasmodic Dysphonia. More specifically, Adams was using Google Alerts to get i [...]

Cyberchondria: When Web Search Makes You Sick(er)

Those muscle twitches you get probably aren't a sign that you have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka "Lou Gehrig's Disease"). But if you're using search engines to diagnose what ails you, there's a chance you'll come to that conclusion. In a new paper, Microsoft investigates cyberchondria: "... the unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomatology, based on the review of search results and literature on the Web." Microsoft researchers Ryen White and Eric Horvitz studied a 40-million page sample of search results (from Live Search) and surveyed 500 Microsoft employees abo [...]

Windows Live Services Are Upgraded, Expand Considerably

Microsoft has expanded and upgraded the suite of software and online services for consumers collectively known as "Windows Live" -- not to be confused with Live Search. There's a whole boatload of stuff here that spans the desktop, online and mobile. The theme of these tools is integration of all your favorite content in one dashboard and environment, as well as providing access from anywhere. Windows Live services encompass calendaring, events, online storage, photos, groups, IM, email and quite a bit more. There's so much here, it's a bit overwhelming -- to me at least. All this is par [...]

Spooky Search Engines On Halloween

Google, Yahoo, Live, Ask, DogPile and many more are celebrating Halloween with special spooky logos or themes. Below you will find the logos and themes I spotted throughout the search industry. Google seems to have totally 'geeked out' the fear in Halloween by adding spooky thoughts to their robots.txt file: User-agent: zombies Disallow: /brains Without further ado, here are the logos and themes I found throughout the industry: Google's Halloween Logo: Yahoo's Halloween Logo: DogPile's Halloween Logo:'s Halloween Theme:'s Halloween Theme: [...]

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