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Facebook is responding to the challenge from Snap in the classic way that tech companies try to face new competitors — by duplicating every core feature that made Snap popular, and then trying to crush it with distribution and marketing.

According to a story published Tuesday in The Information (subscription required), Facebook created a "Teens Team" to figure out how to grab teenagers back from Snapchat, and has been up front about its tactics within the company: The internal mantra among some groups is "don't be too proud to copy."

 

Unfortunately for Facebook, the track record for this strategy is poor.

Flash back to the early 2000s, when Microsoft was the undisputed king of the tech industry, with two unassailable monopolies — operating systems and productivity apps for personal computers.

It faced a lot of competitors, but the one that scared it the most was Google, which was in a completely different business.

Google didn't start by creating alternatives to Windows and Office, although it did so later. Instead, it created a suite of online services — first search, followed by email and maps — that threatened the entire purpose of a personal computer. Why rely on Microsoft software running locally when you could get so much done with web apps?

Microsoft's response? Trying to build the exact same service that made Google famous — a search engine, first known as MSN Search, later rebranded to Bing.

Eleven years later, Bing is a small minority player in search, with less than 10 percent market share on the desktop and less than 1 percent in mobile, according to NetMarketShare. Google dominates with almost 80 percent share on the desktop and well over 90 percent in mobile. "Google" has become a verb. Nobody "Bings" anything.

Bolstered by the massive margins in search advertising, Google has moved farther and farther into Microsoft's core territory, adding a massively successful mobile operating system (Android), web browser (Chrome), online productivity apps (Google for Work) and an increasingly robust cloud computing business. It also surpassed Microsoft in market cap for the first time in 2012 and remains ahead today.

Google faced its own Bing moment in 2011,

 when it faced a challenge from then-upstart Facebook. The social network didn't threaten Google by building a better search engine. It did so by creating an entirely different online service, based around social networking and real identities, that drew people's attention away from search and other Google properties. As people spent more and more time on Facebook, advertisers followed.

Google's response? To launch a competing social network based on real identities called Google+. It was just as successful as Bing — which is to say, not successful at all.

Facebook may still win. After all, Microsoft used this playbook very effectively in the 1990s to eliminate the threat posed by Netscape Navigator — it built a better browser, then shipped it with Windows. It dominated web browsing for almost a decade (until Google came along with Chrome and Apple's iPhone introduced the concept of effective mobile web browsing).

But Microsoft in the 1990s had an effective monopoly on personal computing platforms with Windows. If you wanted to go online, you had to go out of your way not to use Windows. The same is not true for Facebook — there are many ways to communicate and share information in real time with friends, including text messaging platforms like SMS and Apple's iMessage, and competing social networks like Twitter and — yes — Snapchat.

 

Facebook will have to do more to regain teens' attention than simply duplicating every feature that made Snapchat popular.

Source : cnbc.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Microsoft’s event on May 2nd is expected to see the Redmond-based company continue to push its ambitions in cloud-based services with a tweaked version of Windows 10 and a potential low-cost Surface device designed to fight the rise of Google’s Chromebook platform in the educational market.

As discussed last week on Forbes, Microsoft’s focus will primarily on software, and how this can drive users into the cloud. But it also offers an opportunity to debut new hardware that backs up the drive to the cloud. There is a suspicion that Microsoft will release a lower-specced Surface device that will use Windows 10 Cloud - a new variant of Windows 10 that focuses on cloud services and has an eye on lower cost technology.

 

It may be that Microsoft keeps the Surface brand for the higher end equipment, but with the recent leak of specifications around Windows 10 Cloud machines, Microsoft is going to be part of the game, even if it is via third-party hardware.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (image: Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)Bloomberg
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (image: Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

The leaked details were first reported by Daniel Rubino on Windows Central and not only include the real world targets that a Windows 10 Cloud machine should be looking to achieve ( including ten hours of battery life for all-day use, twenty seconds from cold boot to login, and resume to login in under two seconds; all of which are comparable to Chromebook benchmarks) but also includes the recommended minimum specifications: a quad-core processor (Celeron or better), 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (64GB if it is a 64-bit system), a battery in excess of 40Whr and a ‘fast’ eMMC or SSD. Use of a pen or touch-enabled screen is specifically noted as being optional.

This is slightly higher than the Surface 3 which was discontinued last year (its Intel Atom chip and 28WHr battery being the two black marks) so there is space in Microsoft’s own portfolio for a refreshed Surface 3 style device.

Microsoft Surface 3 (Image: Ewan Spence)Ewan Spence
Microsoft Surface 3 (Image: Ewan Spence)

 

Thanks to the use of the #MicrosoftEDU hashtag, it is fair to say that the education market will feature in the May 2nd event. Once you look at the Chromebook growth in the education market, Microsoft’s push toward cloud-based services, rumors of a low-cast clamshell device with potential Surface branding and the details obtained by Windows Central, a clear picture emerges of Microsoft’s ambition to use low-cost hardware to increase the adoption of its cloud-based services.

Source : forbes.com

Categorized in Internet Technology

Microsoft says a PC running its Edge browser will last 77 percent longer than Firefox, and 35 percent longer than Chrome.

To prove its point, Microsoft has once again employed a time-lapse video of three unplugged Surface Books side by side streaming video for several hours with Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.

The Surface running Edge lasts 12 hours and 31 minutes, while the Chrome device peters out after nine hours and 17 minutes, with the Firefox unit lasting seven hours and four minutes.

Microsoft released similar video last June, again showing Edge outlasting its rivals, which prompted a reply from Google showing Chrome's battery improvements.

 

To counter any claims of bias, Microsoft has published the methodology it followed for the test. The Surface Books featured an i5-6300U processor at 2.5GHz, with 8GB RAM, and an Intel HD Graphics 520 GPU.

The devices were running Windows 10 Pro Build 15063.0 or the Creators Update, with Edge 40, Chrome 57 64-bit, and Firefox 52 32-bit. These are the newest version of each browser.

Microsoft says it gave each device the same "realistic" user setup, but switched off some key tasks that could have interfered with the tests. The display was set to 75 percent brightness, and volume was muted, while location, Bluetooth, updates, and the ambient light sensor were disabled. Quiet hours was enabled, each device was connected to a wireless network, and Windows Defender was running. Windows Battery Saver mode was set to activate at 20 percent battery and the cache on each browser was cleared.

Microsoft attributes Edge's battery performance to "encouraging HTML5 content over Flash, improving the efficiency of iframes, and optimizing hit testing".

Besides improvements to energy efficiency, Edge in the Creators Update brings feature updates, as well improvements to responsiveness and performance.

In the Speedometer browser benchmark that Google used to show 'real-world' performance improvements in Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine, Edge has seen its scores double over the past two years, according to Microsoft.

 

The new Edge also introduces a number of key technologies for the future of the web, including the WebVR to bring the web to VR headsets, Web Payments, WebRTC, Web Authentication, and Web Assembly.

source : zdnet.com

Categorized in Search Engine

A bug in Word apparently targeted by scammers trying to steal banking logins will be patched, Microsoft has said.

The previously undetected, or "zero-day", vulnerability had been reported over the weekend.

Then, on 10 April, cybersecurity firm Proofpoint announced it had discovered an email campaign targeting the bug that aimed to distributed Dridex malware.

Dridex is designed to infect a victim's computer and snoop on banking logins.

In 2015, it was cited as the means by which cyber-attackers stole more than £20m from British bank accounts.

The flaw discovered in many versions of Microsoft Word for Windows could allow malicious software, including Dridex, to be installed, according to cybersecurity researchers.

 

Microsoft did not confirm whether Mac versions of Word were also affected.

A scam email campaign was found to be distributing Microsoft Word RTF [Rich Text Format] documents to recipients that contained Dridex.

'Fully exploited'

"During our testing (for example on Office 2010) the vulnerable system was fully exploited," wrote Proofpoint researchers in a blog.

"We plan to address this through an update on Tuesday April 11, and customers who have updates enabled will be protected automatically," said a Microsoft spokesman.

"Meanwhile we encourage customers to practise safe computing habits online, including exercising caution before opening unknown files and not downloading content from untrusted sources to avoid this type of issue."

Proofpoint also urged Microsoft Word users to install the security updates quickly.

 

"Because of the widespread effectiveness and rapid weaponisation of this exploit, it is critical that users and organisations apply the patch as soon as it becomes available," the firm said.

Source : bbc.com

Categorized in News & Politics

Microsoft scientists have demonstrated that by analyzing large samples of search engine queries they may in some cases be able to identify internet users who are suffering from pancreatic cancer, even before they have received a diagnosis of the disease.

The scientists said they hoped their work could lead to early detection of cancer. Their study was published on Tuesday in The Journal of Oncology Practice by Dr. Eric Horvitz and Dr. Ryen White, the Microsoft researchers, and John Paparrizos, a Columbia University graduate student.

“We asked ourselves, ‘If we heard the whispers of people online, would it provide strong evidence or a clue that something’s going on?’” Dr. Horvitz said.

 

The researchers focused on searches conducted on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, that indicated someone had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. From there, they worked backward, looking for earlier queries that could have shown that the Bing user was experiencing symptoms before the diagnosis. Those early searches, they believe, can be warning flags.

While five-year survival rates for pancreatic cancer are extremely low, early detection of the disease can prolong life in a very small percentage of cases. The study suggests that early screening can increase the five-year survival rate of pancreatic patients to 5 to 7 percent, from just 3 percent.

The researchers reported that they could identify from 5 to 15 percent of pancreatic cases with false positive rates of as low as one in 100,000. The researchers noted that false positives could lead to raised medical costs or create significant anxiety for people who later found out they were not sick.

The data used by the researchers was anonymized, meaning it did not carry identifying markers like a user name, so the individuals conducting the searches could not be contacted.

A logical next step would be to figure out what to do with that search information. One possibility would be some sort of health service where users could allow their searches to be collected, allowing scientists to monitor for questions that indicate warning flag symptoms.

“The question, ‘What might we do? Might there be a Cortana for health some day?’” said Dr. Horvitz, in a reference to the company’s speech-oriented online personal assistant software service.

Although the researchers declined to offer specific details, Dr. White is now the chief technology officer of health intelligence in a recently created Health & Wellness division at Microsoft.

 

They acknowledged that health-related data generated from web search histories was still new territory for the medical profession.

“I think the mainstream medical literature has been resistant to these kinds of studies and this kind of data,” Dr. Horvitz said. “We’re hoping that this stimulates quite a bit of interesting conversation.”

The new research is based on the ability of the Microsoft team to accurately distinguish between web searches that are casual or based on anxiety and those that are genuine searches for specific medical symptoms by people who are experiencing them, he noted.

Both a computer scientist and a medical doctor by training, Dr. Horvitz said he had been exploring this area in part because of a phone conversation with a close friend who had described symptoms. Based on their conversation, Dr. Horvitz advised him to contact his doctor. He received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and died several months later.

The availability of vast sets of behavior data based on individual web queries using the search engines offered by companies like Google and Microsoft has for a number of years been seen as a potential indicator of health-related information.

In 2009, Google published a research paper that explored the potential of early detection of flu epidemics based on statistical analysis of web search logs, though the results of that effort ultimately fell short of what had been hoped.

More recently, Microsoft researchers have had significant success in finding early evidence of adverse drug reactions from patterns observed in web logs. In 2013, they detected unreported side effects of prescription drugs before they were found by the Food and Drug Administration’s warning system.

 

The researchers are exploring evidence related to a range of devastating diseases. They also said that unlike the drug interaction data, which would be of direct value to the F.D.A. as an early alert, it was possible that symptom alert data might be made available as part of a broader online health service that a company like Microsoft might offer.

Source : nytimes.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Using Microsoft's machine-learning technologies, the Advanced Search for Bing News template allows brand managers (or news junkies) to scour the web for relevant news articles.

Power BI is already helping tens of thousands of enterprise users draw insights from business data. Now, the cloud-enabled business intelligence and analytics platform can also help marketers keep up with current events.

The software giant this week announced a new template, Advanced Search for Bing News, that employs a host of Microsoft cloud services and machine learning technologies to seek out news items on a given keyword or topic from hundreds of sources. Using the gathered information, the template can generate visualizations that puts things into perspective.

 

"A brand manager can use the cluster map to quickly identify topics they want to learn more about and further qualify them by things like timeframe, news category or perhaps sentiment bucket—and then easily navigate to the articles themselves for full exploration of the topic," offered Microsoft Power BI program manager Justyna Lucznik, as an example in her blog post.

"This allows brand managers to connect to the right articles quickly and in a visually impactful way," she continued. Users can also organize their results based on locations, people and organizations.

    Under the hood, the search template relies on technologies from Microsoft Research, including innovations in entity extraction, sentiment analysis and unsupervised machine learning algorithms that enable natural language processing, explained Lucznik. Naturally, it also employs a number of the company's cloud services, including Azure ML, Logic Apps, Functions and the Cortana Analytics cognitive services suite.

    The template is the internet news counterpart to the Campaign/Brand Management for Twitter template Microsoft released last September, Lucznik noted. Similar to the Bing News template, it can be used to track sentiment and topic trends. Additionally, it enables organizations to monitor how Twitter's throng of users react to their products and services.

    Meanwhile, users of the Power BI Desktop software will have several new capabilities to explore in the March 2017 update.

    "We have several highly-requested features in this month’s release, including textbox font color, several visual improvements, and previews of three highly requested features: report theming, a new matrix visual with major experience updates, and a numeric range slicer," said Amanda Cofsky, a program manager at Microsoft's Power BI unit, in March 6 announcement.

    Power BI's new report theming capabilities, currently in preview, allow organizations to harmonize their charts, tables and other visuals with their corporate branding. Users can set colors for a number of elements, including the foreground, background and table accents.

    Other enhancements include the ability to add percentages to pie and donut chart data labels and a new cross-highlighting option in charts that allows users to select multiple series, enabling more complex comparisons, said Cofsky.

     

    The clustering feature is now generally available, offering users a new way of presenting data on scatter charts and tables. Also generally available this month are connectors for Azure Data Lake Store and Azure Analysis Services.

    Source : eweek.com

    Categorized in Search Engine

    There's been heaps of controversy associated with Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 10 since it was launched, but the latest issue takes the cake – apparently Windows has been quietly logging every single keystroke users make on their keyboards from the beginning. Even better, that data is being constantly sent to Microsoft's servers on a regular basis.

    We're not sure why on earth Microsoft would want users' keystrokes, as this data is only really useful to cybercriminals seeking to crack passwords to steal sensitive data, and IBTimes UK has asked the computing giant to clarify, but in the meantime, it is possible to solve this problem.

    Here's advice on how to turn off the Windows 10 keylogger:

    Concerned about privacy? Then always say no

    If you haven't yet installed Windows 10 but are thinking of upgrading, then your road ahead is simple. When you install Windows 10, make sure that you select 'custom install'.

    Read all the options on the installation window carefully, and make sure you always select 'no' for all options relating to sending data to Microsoft. It is also safe if you simply choose to just say 'no' to all options – it will not affect your usability on Windows 10.

    I have Windows 10. What should I do?

    If you have Windows 10 installed, then you need to go to the Start menu and then select Settings > Privacy > General. Turn off the option that reads, 'Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future'. To be safe, restart your computer after selecting this option.

    I have technical knowledge. Is there anything else I can do?

    Yes, there are several things you can do to prevent being tracked. The problem is that even if you turn tracking options off, if in the future Microsoft decides that it wants the options to be turned back on for any reason, it can easily do so during the monthly Patch Tuesday through the automatic Windows Updates function.

    There are ways that you can prevent this from happening, however, please be aware that these methods come from the user community, and some of these fixes could potentially cause problems to your PC. We've listed possible options ranked from "harmless" to "most likely to mess up your computer".

    Method One: Windows Update MiniTool
    Rank: Harmless

    The Windows Update MiniTool freeware by MajorGeeks allows users to check for Windows Updates and see a description of what they do. You can decide whether you want to install the available updates, hide the ones you don't like and even delete updates that have been installed that you disagree with.

    This software explains what the updates do with a user-friendly interface, and if you are not happy with the changes, you can easily search for and reinstall them.

    Method Two: Set up a metered connection to reduce updates

    Rank: Harmless

    If you don't think you have the time to review incoming Windows Updates, you could also choose to set up a feature in Windows 10 that was designed by Microsoft to help users who have low internet bandwidth.

     

    Instead of receiving all Windows Updates, Microsoft cuts out updates that are unimportant, and only send you priority updates that fix critical security problems (to keep the hackers out) or stability problems affecting the operating system.

    Please note however that this will only work if you are on a Wi-Fi connection, but not if you're using an Ethernet cable to connect to the internet.

    To do this, go to the Start menu and then select Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi.

    In Wi-Fi, click 'Advanced Options' and then select 'on' for the option 'Set as metered connection'.

    Method Three: Turn off Windows Updates completely

    Rank: Not advisable

    If you think you know better than Microsoft, then you could just choose to disable Windows Updates completely. Some people with advanced technical knowledge have done this, and they routinely check for important updates, but we wouldn't advise it, as this means you could risk missing critical patches from Microsoft.

    However, this is how you do it:

    Go to the Start menu and type 'Run' in the search field. Click on the program, type "services.msc" and then click 'OK'. Look in the list of services, find the 'Windows Update' listing and double-click on it. Click on the drop down menu for 'Startup type' and select 'Disabled', then click OK to confirm and restart your computer.

    You can change this back at any time using the same method and selecting 'Automatic' or 'Manual' from the drop down menu.

    Categorized in Internet Technology

    By default, Edge is configured to use Microsoft’s Bing for web searches. Oddly, Google Search is not an option. But you can fix that if you know the trick.

    Note: This tip is derived from the Windows 10 Field Guide, which is now being updated for the Windows 10 Creators Update.

    If you navigate to Edge’s Advanced Settings interface—Settings and More (“…”) > Settings > View advanced settings > Change search engine (under “Search in the address bar with”), you will discover something unexpected: Google Search is not even an option.

    To fix this, use Edge to navigate to Google.com (or your favorite Internet search engine’s website). Then, return to the Change search engine option in Advanced settings. (Shown above.)

    Now, select “Google Search (discovered)” (or whichever search engine you visited) and then the Set as default button at the bottom of this pane. Future address bar searches will use that search engine instead of Bing.

    Note: There is one major downside to this change. Certain Edge features, like Quick answers, will no longer work if you change the search engine from Bing.

    Author : Paul Thurrott

    Source : https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/107298/windows-10-tip-change-microsoft-edge-search-engine

     

    Categorized in Search Engine

    Bing Search for Android can now provide detailed information on searched for locations. Microsoft has also added security flags and warnings to give users more control over which websites are safe to visit.

    While Google is the all-conquering search tool on the Android platform, there are dedicated pockets of Bing Search users. For those customers, Microsoft has today rolled out an update for its Bing Search app on Android. This latest release comes with some new features to improve the user experience.

    Probably the most interesting of the new additions is a new travel results feature. This sees Bing provide specific results based on a search location:

     

    “Looking to go somewhere new? Bing finds you the best time to go and gives you tips and guides,” the changelog explains.

    One important new change focuses on improving security on Bing Search for Android. This means the service issues “warnings about malicious websites” in the search results. For example, a search results that may be dangerous if clicked are flagged as such.

    This is a welcome addition that other search engines do, including Bing on PC. Microsoft explains that users are also able to “filter and find your favorite Bing homepage images”.

    Bing Search for Android

    Bing Search has been expanded through Microsoft updates over several years. While it was once a pale imitation of Google Search, Bing has improved as a viable alternative. While market share has been hard to come by, the features at Bing’s disposal make it a powerful tool.

    Here are the features available to Android users:

    • Access weather, news, trending images and videos quickly
    • Translate the entire web pages through the “Translate” button
    • Bookmark pages you want to remember, and share what you find with your social networks
    • Keep track of results you find with multiple tabs
    • Go into private mode so that Bing doesn’t save your search and browsing history
    • Enjoy beautiful daily homepage images and set them as your phone wallpaper with one click.
    • Browse the gallery for previous homepage images

    Author : Luke Jones

    Source : https://winbuzzer.com/2017/03/13/microsoft-updates-bing-search-android-travel-specific-information-xcxwbn/

    Categorized in Search Engine

    Microsoft is providing "legal advice and assistance" to employees who might be affected by President Donald Trump's executive action on immigration, the company says.

    On Friday, Donald Trump signed an executive order for "extreme vetting" that halted the US' refugee program and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days — even people who already have visas and legal permits to live in the United States.

    The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

     

    "We share the concerns about the impact of the executive order on our employees from the listed countries, all of whom have been in the United States lawfully, and we’re actively working with them to provide legal advice and assistance," says a Microsoft spokesperson.

    Earlier this week, before Trump signed the order in question, Microsoft tucked language into its quarterly earnings report, warning that "we are limited in our ability to recruit internationally by restrictive domestic immigration laws," and that "changes to U.S. immigration policies that restrain the flow of technical and professional talent may inhibit our ability to adequately staff our research and development efforts."

    Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have both spoken out against President Trump's immigration action. "It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues," Pichai wrote in an e-mail to Google employees.

    Author : Matt Weinberger

    Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-donald-trump-immigration-order-2017-1

    Categorized in Others
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