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All posts tagged Search

Windows 8.1 Is A Great Operating System…

… and getting the best out of WIndows 8.1 is by no means rocket science, but it helps to have some direction.

As mentioned in a prior post on rules for selecting a new PC make your life easier and select a laptop that comes pre-installed with Windows 8.1 (or have the store you buy from do the upgrade for you). Why?

  • Windows 8.1 is a vast improvement on Windows 8 across the board.
  • A pre-installed Windows 8.1 PC is likely to be built with newer hardware and drivers that work with Windows 8.1 too.
  • Whilst I advocate embracing Windows Update this is one use case where less is better than more.

Touch: I’ve been getting touchy-feely with Windows 8.1 since I upgraded my Dell Inspiron (when it up and died on me) to the Asus touch enabled laptop I have now. I have scarcely touched a mouse since. In fact, my biggest problem is the laughter that ensues every time the Missus asks me to resolve a problem on her Windows 7 laptop, as she watches me poking the screen for a few seconds befuddled at its lack of response. Touch is habit forming in a good way.Windows 8.1 Smart Art Chart

A Couple of Free Tips Too..

A couple of tips that will make your life with Windows 8.1 much easier.

  1. Don’t ignore the New Windows Apps or Desktop. Keep in mind these might be lighter on the functionality but they are also less resource hungry which allows for even greater multitasking.
  2. Windows 8.1 Start Menu: one of your best friends is [Windows Key]+[X] or touch and long press on the Windows icon (bottom left on the System bar).
  3. Search for ANYTHING, yes that’s right anything: the easiest way to start an app / software or find anything else on your PC ranging from files or settings is to go to the New Windows Desktop and just type. Windows will detect your typing and open Search from the Charms Bar. (Alternatively you can swipe in from the right side of the screen to access the Charms bar.)

 

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The Warptest POV

Windows 8 has not been without its hiccups but Windows 8.1 is a productivity OS extraordinaire once you get to grips with it. This isn’t going to take long at all with a positive attitude, an open mind and tips like those here.

So far most of the naysayers I’ve experienced have limited if any time hands on with Windows 8.1 so kick their opinions to the curb and try it for yourself. I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed.

If you have any tips for Windows 8.1 feel free to share them in the comments and I’ll write a follow up crediting you your tips of course.

 

Microsoft Is Pounding Out New Stuff And Bing Is No Exception

Just before the weekend Bing released a beta of their new Knowledge Widget, an add-on for websites and blogs that when added will display indexed, relevant keywords and display results in a sidebar.

Big bing logo

The widget is Javascript, configurable and once the webmaster chooses the style and layout, the code can be added to the post / site.

The user can click on an underlined keyword or click on the sidebar to see images related to those keywords. Hitting the keyword opens the Knowledge Widget and displays Bing results of relevance to the keyword(s).

At the same time Bing has released App Linking to ensure that discovery of your site and content includes ranking for your app. This feature can be implemented to deep link from content within your website to targets within the app.

How To Add It?

Bing posted a full how-to article including configurable Javascript to copy and add to your content.

Follow the link on the page to select the settings you want on the page, modify the Javascript accordingly and the page also includes deeper explanation of manual configuration options like CSS.

Bing Knowledge Widget Javascript Default

 

 

 

…Here is the default javascript.

I recommend reading through and customizing this to suit your own page layout.

Bing Knowledge Widget Config

The Warptest POV

As I mentioned in an earlier article, the new format of Bing’s results leverages discovery of valuable, relevant content… not just a list of blue links.

Here is a series of screen-grabs from my previous post after I added the widget:

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The Bing Knowledge Widget is a lightweight add-on for your blog that has the added value of keeping your visitors onsite but at the same time allowing them to discover external content that relates to your post(s). Bing have made sure that it’s easy to configure and setup on your website. The UI is compliant with Bing and the features are easy to use. So far results I’ve looked at are relevant and I’ve seen no false positives.

In a nutshell, I’m giving Bing a big Warptest thumbs-up for their new Knowledge Widget and even though it is in beta I recommend testing it out.

So, let me know when you have added the Knowledge Widget to your blog or website and I’ll check it out.

Bing Announced A New Logo Today…

… Amongst other things. The logo is part of an overall evolution of the brand. You can read what Microsoft had to say about the logo redesign here.

Ubiquitous… Almost

… Bing like many other Microsoft products catches a lot of flak and I’m going to say it. It’s unjust and mostly the usual Microsoft trolls. Bing right now is the go-to search / discovery enabler for Yahoo and Siri. Yes that’s right, pick your jaw up from the ground, Siri has made Bing its default search engine.

Understandably with Microsoft’s investment in Facebook there was a strong connection between Bing and Facebook also.

You Are Missing The Point

Bing has never been about being just a search engine. It is an enabling technology for discovery. Search provides results but discovery
delivers relevant and useful content.

Bing is an organic part of Windows Phone including voice and visual translation; has Apps for iOS and Android , Bing is used in Windows 8 / Windows Phone Apps and in a variety of Apps for Bing Maps: –

In addition the Bing API allows developers to build their own solutions integrating the service. The service is transitioning to the Windows Azure Marketplace.

Those who believe the announcement today is simply a new look and logo are very much mistaken.

The Warptest POV

It’s plain if you take the time to look that Bing is going to deliver contextually relevant, useful and usable content off the web. A lot of thought has gone into how to deliver this content in an incredible UX.

One of the examples given in the official Bing blog post is results about people. Bing already incorporated Social content (access to the person’s Facebook or Twitter feed and Klout score) but now the content delivered is a holistic/aggregated profile and not just a series of links with images/videos slapped in a sidebar.

The New Bing People Search via Bing blog.

Bing promises more evolution with news of development of a cross-device AI/Avatar named for HALO AI, Cortana according to Mary Jo Foley on ZDNet this week.

If this is true then firstly I am glad someone at Microsoft reads my blog.

I discussed this concept in October 2011 “An Ode to Ms Dewey…” where I suggest Ms Dewey (a marketing simulation for Live Search) become a Search enabled Personal Assistant App.

Whether we get to see Cortana soon or not, the new evolution of Bing delivers on an incredible search/discovery experience.

Will you be taking it for a spin?

ms dewey msn

Ms Dewey, who?!??

In 2006 Microsoft needed an edge, Google and Yahoo were serious contenders in the Search Engine wars. Microsoft’s Live Search needed something.

McCann Erickson and EVB San Francisco came up with Ms Dewey. She emulated an intelligent, interactive and of course attractive Search Engine.

The actress, Janina Gavankar portrayed the Live Search Engine which ultimately could have become an Apple Siri killer had Microsoft done more with this idea than simply left this as a Flash website to market what would ultimately be rebranded from Live Search to Bing.

Ms. Dewey as a virtual assistant, albeit in those days not mobile was clever, sharp and witty and amassed a huge following with a Facebook group pushing for her return. The site managed in some small way to rebrand Live Search and add a fun, entertaining aspect to the science of search.

msdeweyFBgroup

Admittedly, the group admits that the push is for the actress to return as Ms. Dewey, less than for the quality of search results that Live Search provided through the Adobe Flash frontend.

In the end Siri, Apple’s new amazing, voice-controlled Personal Assistant is for once a late contender, following on the heels of Ms. Dewey.

Had someone at Microsoft foreseen the huge potential then who knows the Windows Phone 7 could be a little different:

MsDewey_appfake

The author of this piece can neither confirm or deny that their tongue was firmly inserted into their cheek whilst writing this Smile

Perhaps, bringing Ms Dewey back to the fold as Microsoft’s flagship search / help avatar might both on Windows Phone and Windows 8 might make for a better transition.

Wouldn’t you like Ms Dewey to help you find your way around Windows 8?