The future of search, according to Microsoft, is outside of the white search bar. "Now the way for human beings to express their interest or needs goes way beyond a browser search typing in keywords," said Microsoft's Bing chief, Qi Lu. "You can use voice to have a conversation, you can use gestures to express yourself."
Moving forward, Bing will fit into all of Microsoft's products, providing information access from physical objects to expand the context of its search.
"The battle between us and Google is going to be over who can build understanding more quickly to serve people in a much more anticipatory way," says Microsoft's Adam Sohn. "Google's going to understand every entity on the planet, we're gonna understand every entity on the planet, but the question will be what do you do with that information?"
Read More | The Verge
The big rumor on the street about the next Xbox is that Microsoft will block used games from working with the console. Reports from sources have hit various news outlets saying that the new Xbox, which should launch later this year, will require mandatory game installs to the hard drive of the console, and will require an activation code in order to get them to play. Once the code is used, that game is activated for that console specifically (or, maybe, that specific Gamertag,) and won't work on other consoles, effectively killing the used game market.
Read More | MCV India
We recently reported on the Slacker Radio redesign, and the company is keeping the freshness going, debuting on the Xbox 360 today. You can download the Slacker app for free, and you've gotta be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber in the US or Canada for the privilege. You get the same overhauled color scheme, music guide, and Kinect voice controls. Head over to the Xbox Live Marketplace to grab the 116 MB download.
If you're not familiar with the SmartGlass second-screen app for Microsoft's Xbox 360, it is an app that seeks to improve user viewing experience by connecting the 360 console to smartphones and tablets. Sports fans might be in for a new reason to download the app if they haven't already, as Microsoft is bringing SmartGlass functionality to it's ESPN and NBA Game Time apps, as well as a new Sports Picks app.
From the SmartGlass app for iOS, Android, and Windows, you will be able to navigate the content from the apps directly from the tablet or smartphone. SmartGlass also brings more interaction to the viewing experience, such as allowing competition between friends to see who is most knowledgeable about whatever they're watching, with the chance to be featured in a global leader board.
We trust Google with a lot of things: we trust that it will be there for us when our memory fails and that it will find the best information for us. Can we trust it to predict the future for us too? Well, the future of consumer electronics at least.
Based on Google Trends searches, Microsoft's next generation system is poised to take down Sony's next Playstation console. Google Trends previously held the data that showed the winner of the high-def DVD race, as Blu-ray yielded more search results than HD DVD films. This time, news site Ludos Mundi used Google Trends to discover whose winning the next-gen popularity contest, and found users search "Xbox 720" about 60 percent of the time, compared to searches for "PS4" that occur 40 percent of the time.
You can use Google Trends yourself to see the data. Simply compare "Xbox 720" and "PS4" using the Forecast feature.
The Xbox Community Ambassador campaign now has five more tier levels added to it, which include awards ranging from free Avatar swag to the Xbox Live gamer spotlight. The Xbox Community Ambassador program rewards Xbox Live members who assist other members through chat or the forum, acting as a reputation system that awards XP that can be redeemed.
The new tiers are listed below:
- Level 11, gold star avatar t-shirt.
- Level 12, gold star avatar hat and 10 tickets for periodic ambassador sweepstakes.
- Level 13, gamer spotlight, ilomilo on Xbox Live Arcade.
- Level 14, one month Xbox Live subscription and 10 ambassador sweepstakes tickets.
- Level 15, avatar spacesuit, 800 Microsoft Points.
If you're interested in becoming an ambassaor, you can apply here.
Read More | Xbox Community Ambassadors
Microsoft is developing a set-top box as an alterntative to a fully-fledged next generation gaming device. The set-top will run on core components of Windows 8, offering casual gaming titles (most likely through Xbox Live) instead of the big productions you'll find on the next-generation of Xbox consoles.
Furthering the casual theme of the set-top box, Microsoft is planning on incorporating a chipset enabling the device to boot up practically instantaenously for quick and simple access to TV, games and other entertainment services.
The set-top box is but one step in Microsoft's plan to bring the core architecture of the next-generation across several devices, such as a phone capable of handling a complete Xbox Live experience.
Microsoft has put together another custom-designed Xbox 360 console, this one celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Xbox Live. As you can see in the image above, it's a dark gray console with green and orange accents, and an "X" design papered all over the hardware. It's a great looking device to our eyes. It was announced on Twitter by Major Nelson, who confirmed that the company is giving these out to a number of Xbox Live members who've stuck around since the beginning.
Microsoft's My Xbox Live companion app for iOS has just been updated with new functionality and a new name: Xbox SmartGlass. What does it do? Well, you can now use your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch as remote controls and keypads for the Xbox 360. This includes dual-screen experiences as well. The app is available now, and is not yet compatible with the new 4-inch Retina display. Xbox SmartGlass for iOS is free.
Read More | Xbox SmartGlass
Among the smaller tablets of the world like the iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD, and Nexus 7, Microsoft's platform is nowhere to be found. Sure, the company just launched Surface a couple of weeks ago, it's first first-party tablet device, and it has the Surface Pro on the way too…but what about the smaller form factor? Well, it turns out that Microsoft is working on it's very own 7-inch tablet, the previously-uncovered Xbox Surface.
Read More | The Verge