Microsoft’s Photosynth Opens To The Public

Microsoft's Photosynth is morphing from a Microsoft Live Labs experiment -- featured on the BBC's "How We Built Britain" television series and in select other rarefied contexts -- to what can only be described as a "totally cool" consumer application. I've always been intrigued by Photosynth, since its introduction in late 2006, and what Microsoft might do with it. The consumer release is only the beginning; there are myriad academic, educational and potential commercial uses of the technology. On the new consumer site, you can upload your photos -- it only works on Windows machines (XP [...]

Microsoft’s Worldwide Telescope Application Blasts Onto The Desktop

Microsoft has launched (an appropriate metaphor this time) its Worldwide Telescope desktop application. You must download the software, but then you're treated to a beautiful array of images and "guided tours" of the cosmos (see screenshots below). Intended for science education, "Worldwide Telescope stitches together terabytes of high-resolution images of celestial bodies, and displays them in a way that relates to their actual position in the sky." According to Microsoft, the mission of Worldwide Telescope is: --To aggregate scientific data from major telescopes, observatories and institu [...]

Microsoft Proposes Comprehensive Framework To Protect Consumer Privacy

Microsoft has added its input to that of a host of other stakeholders in the growing debate over consumer privacy, online ad targeting, and potential US (and local) government regulation. (Here's a related WSJ story on search engine efforts to block a proposed anti-tracking law in the New York state legislature.) In a filing today with the US Federal Trade Commission, Microsoft proposed a "comprehensive framework to protect consumer privacy." Microsoft lays out the following conceptual principle for its five-tiered approach: The foundation of Microsoft’s approach is the idea that the grea [...]

Microsoft Buys Danger

Microsoft has acquired Danger, Inc., maker of the T-mobile "Sidekick" device and the Danger operating system and platform. Danger has been hailed as highly innovative and its platform and OS pre-dates the iPhone (the company was founded in 2000). There's a bit of an irony here in that Danger was co-founded by Andy Rubin, who is the chief architect behind Google's Android, which is competing with Windows Mobile as a platform. Although innovative, Danger is a money losing enterprise at this point. But Microsoft believes that Danger and its OS can offer an improved mobile development platform a [...]

MSN Introduces Advertising On Mobile Portal

Not long ago, Microsoft's MSN relaunched its WAP portal. Today the company is introducing display advertising (graphical and text ads) to MSN Mobile in the US market. (Mobile display advertising is already present on MSN in Belgium, France, Japan, Spain, and the UK.) According to AP, inaugural advertisers include Bank of America, Ford (Jaguar), and Viacom (Paramount). The technology behind the ads is from mobile ad platform ScreenTonic SA, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year. In speaking with Microsoft on Friday, we discussed how advertising on MSN Mobile right now is largely untarge [...]

Ask Jumps, Google Slips and Yahoo Leads American Customer Satisfaction Index for Search

For the first time, Yahoo has beaten Google in the annual University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The survey measures U.S. consumer satisfaction across a broad range of business and product categories including "e-business," which covers search. The survey asks a statistically representative sample of consumers to rate their experiences with portals and search engines according to a number of criteria, which produces an overall satisfaction score on a 100 point scale. The search/portal category has been rated since 2000. Until this year, Google has always lead the A [...]

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Intel & Others Join Greener Computing Effort

Google announced that it and many other computer and Internet heavyweights have joined together in the global Climate Savers computing initiative launched by the World Wildlife Federation. The idea is to improve the efficiency of computer hardware and data centers so that they require less power and give off less heat. Here's the Google Blog post about the announcement. The companies are adopting the most stringent EPA Energy Star requirements now and plan to exceed them going forward. The initiative is aimed at both enterprises and consumers and the participating organizations hope to offse [...]

BBC Features Microsoft’s Photosynth In New Show

The BBC's "How We Built Britain" television series "explores Britain's past through its buildings and the lives lived in and around them." The program (or programme) features Microsoft's experimental Photosyth technology to show photo collages and different images of the structures. Here's an earlier post from around the time of Photosyth's "launch." It's a very interesting product with some fairly compelling applications. Below are some screen shots of building images. [...]

Free Web Design Tools From The Big Three: SEO Friendly Or Not?

Today's article is a follow-up on our earlier review in which I looked at the capabilities and usability of the big three search engines' free site creation tools. The focus was on how easy each software product was for a non-technical person to master. The three tools reviewed were Google's Page Creator, Microsoft's Office Live Basics, and Yahoo's SiteBuilder. The original article, Free Web Design Tools From the Big Three: Trash or Treasure? spawned a flurry of questions related to the "SEO friendliness" of the products. Many small businesses don't have coders on staff but still wan [...]

Search Engines’ Test Beds

In Search of... Better Ways to Search at the Wall Street Journal goes through the different ways search engines like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and use "spin off" sites to test new features. We have reported about all these in the past, but the article offers a nice overview of many of the methods search engines test features. Google's Test Site: Yahoo's Test Sites: AllTheWeb and AltaVista Microsoft's Test Site: Ms Dewey's Test Site: Ask X The search engines also constantly test out new features to a subset of their users on their main sites. [...]

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