Since 2010, Microsoft has been running the Bing Rewards program: Just do your searches with Microsoft's Bing search engine, and you can earn points towards Starbucks and Amazon gift cards, Hulu subscriptions, and other such prizes.

Earn some extra cash using Edge

Now, Microsoft is rebranding the program to Microsoft Rewards, and instead of just Bing, Microsoft wants to reward you for using Microsoft Edge - the web browser that comes Windows 10, and the successor to Internet Explorer.

So long as you're actively using Microsoft Edge - characterized as having the Edge window open and actually using it to browse the web, not simply having it open in the background - you'll accumulate points that can be redeemed for prizes, up to 30 hours' worth a month.

While Windows 10 is on more than 350 million active devices, the Edge browser hasn't quite made the success that Microsoft had hoped for. Current numbers place Edge usage at a just over 4.2% of the overall browser market. So now, Microsoft wants to give users a little incentive every time they use Edge.

The catch

There's one major proviso here, too. Despite the rebranding, you need to use Microsoft Bing as your default search engine in order to reap Microsoft Rewards points. If you change your default to Google, Yahoo, or any other search engine, your points won't accumulate. If you want points, you require Bing.


Don't worry about your privacy

Finally, Microsoft says that they're only tracking your activities when Edge is open, and not what websites you're visiting or any information you're entering. Microsoft Rewards will also ask before it begins tracking Edge usage, so it won't activate without your authorization. Your privacy matters more to them than anything else, it seems.

It's all up to you!

If that's still too much for you, especially in light of past Windows 10 privacy scandals, well, you can carry on browsing the way you've been browsing. But Microsoft's aspiration to make Edge into a noteworthy market force could make it a lot easier for you to fill your pockets. Besides, Microsoft Edge may just be the best way to watch Netflix on a laptop.

Source : http://www.itechpost.com/articles/29628/20160914/microsoft-paying-people-use-edge-web-browser.htm

Categorized in Search Engine

Are you getting mixed search results? Here we'll tell you how to use Cortana to narrow down your searches to get exactly what you're looking for on Windows 10.

When you talk about Cortana and search on Windows 10 is like saying the same thing. Sure, Cortana excels on an array of tasks, such as creating reminders, syncing notifications between your phone and PC, and even when using natural language, but the assistant is about a lot more.

Microsoft has designed Cortana as part of the next generation of search, which is about getting personal results and giving you things based on knowing your patterns without you having to ask.

On Windows 10, Cortana integrates with the operating system's local search feature to help you find local files and settings, and also with Bing to offer relevant search results from the web to answer any questions.

Here we'll explain and walk you through the steps to search for files, settings, and get relevant web search results using Cortana on Windows 10.

How to use Cortana to search on Windows 10

On Windows 10, there are two ways to search using Cortana: you can use the search box in the taskbar to enter your search query to find anything you need. Or you can start Cortana in listening mode using the "Hey Cortana" feature or the Windows key + Shift + C keyboard shortcut to ask the assistant to find anything you want.


You can use Cortana to find virtually anything on your computer or on the web. Typically, you'll use the assistant to find files stored locally on your computer or OneDrive, settings, and web results to answer more complex searches.

How to search files and settings using Cortana

While Microsoft has designed Cortana to make search super easy on Windows 10, you'll notice that you won't just get one answer. Instead, you will get a lot of results from different categories, because Cortana doesn't quite understand the context of your question unless you're specific.

For example, when you do a search, you will get results from any source that Cortana can search, including local files and settings, and web results using Bing.

If you want to get more specific results from a query, you have to do your search with commands that Cortana can understand, which are similar to those queries you use every day on your favorite search engine.

To narrow down your Cortana search to only files and settings and apps, you can use the following examples in the search box:

  • Apps: Mail
  • Documents: Business Presentation 2016
  • Folders: Personal Docs
  • Music: Bon Jovi
  • Photos: Veronica's Party
  • Settings: Windows Update
  • Videos: Vacation

In the examples above, you can see that you can quickly type a category and a colon to specify the search type followed by your search query, which will help Cortana understand exactly the type of search you want to perform.


As you type a query in the search box you'll get a number of shortcuts buttons to refine your search. But if you prefer typing to mousing and clicking, these quick commands can make your searches even faster.

If you prefer using the shortcut buttons, you can also click the More button on the top-right to see the complete list of categories you can search using Cortana.

Additionally, you can type a query in the search box, and click the title of the category to see more results.

If you're an Office 365 subscriber, you can even connect your account with Cortana to search email, calendar, people, and Office 365 documents.

Local search on Windows 10 Mobile works different

While the concept of search using Cortana also works on Windows 10 Mobilethere some limitations. For example, on the mobile version of Windows 10, you can't search for specific files and settings within the Cortana app.

If you're looking for an specific file, you either need to open File Explorer or OneDrive and use the search functionality within that app, and you need to open the Settings app to find any settings.

How to search the web using Cortana

Searching the web using Cortana is not much different than doing a search using your web browser using Bing or Google. However, there are a few things you need to know to get the best web search results.



To search the web using Cortana there is only one command you need to know: web: followed by the search term. The example below shows how you should type a web search query in Cortana:

  • Web: How to use Cortana on Windows 10

While the Web command defines the context of your search, you'll come across two types of results: Cortana instant answers within the app, which technically you don't have to specify, because it's already programmed to respond to particular questions. This is the logic that makes Cortana feel more intelligent.

Here are some examples of specific things Cortana can answer within the app:

  • NYC Weather
  • Microsoft Stock
  • What movies are playing near me?
  • What's the time in the UK?
  • How tall is Jessica Biel?

Here a few other examples searches you can do with the digital assistant:

  • News: This command brings up the latest trending news within the app.
  • Define: When you need a definition of a particular word, you can use the keyword define followed by the word. For example, define automobile. This command will trigger a search on Bing, and the search engine will use the Oxford Dictionary to provide the definition.
  • 42+8/23: Use math standard operators +, -, *, /, %, and ^ in the search box to calculate anything you want, and press Enter to bring up the calculator.
  • Translate: When you need to translate text to another language type translate and press Enter to open Cortana in translation mode.

Web search (left), recognized web search (middle), math search (right)


When you type a search that Cortana isn't programmed to answer, you'll only see related search terms. In which case, you'll need to press Enter to open Microsoft Edge and hope the Bing search result page shows up a link with the answer you're seeking.

Remember that everything you do with Cortana (unless is a local search for files and settings) is an online search, and Bing is responsible for it.

Don't you believe me? Try to disconnect your computer from the internet and see if Cortana can answer something as simple as 2+2

How to search with voice command using Cortana

Cortana has been designed to work with the keyboard and mouse, as well as with voice commands using natural language.

If you're using the hands-free feature, then simply say "Hey Cortana" followed by the search term. For example:

  • "Hey Cortana: How's the weather."

If "Hey Cortana" is not enabled on your device, then use the Windows key + Shift + C keyboard shortcut and say your search term. For example:

  • "How tall is Mount Everest?"

Remember you're not limited to say keywords in your search, just use natural language. For Cortana, "Can you tell me what is an automobile?" and "define automobile" are the same thing. However, the search experience may be different using voice commands and typing the query in the search box.

Source : http://www.windowscentral.com/how-use-cortana-search-windows-10 

Categorized in Internet Privacy


The internet is undoubtedly one of most important technical advances ever, but it's not always a very nice place.

It's the home of trolls and haters, a place where famous people and ordinary people alike are often subject to shocking threats, insults, and having their personal information published online (a practice known as doxing.)

It's a thorny problem for social-media sites like Twitter, which would rather protect free speech instead of police speech, and Facebook, where like-minded people can gather and affirm each other.

But Microsoft is taking harder stance against hate speech. On Friday it said it wants to make it easier for people to report online abuse in its consumer communities, which includes everything from Skype, OneDrive, and Outlook to gaming community Xbox Live.

"For many years we’ve sought to protect our customers by prohibiting hate speech and removing such content from our hosted consumer services. While neither our principles nor our policies are changing, we are refining some of our processes to make it easier for customers to report hate speech," explains Microsoft's chief online-safety officer Jacqueline Beauchere in a blog post.


To that end, Microsoft introduced a new form that makes it easier to report hate speech and a clear definition of the kinds of things that constitute hate speech. Anything that advocates violence or promotes hatred based on age, disability, gender, national or ethnic origin or race, religions or sexual orientation/gender identity is the kind of thing Microsoft will nix.

The new form also makes it easier for people to log a protest if their sites or posts were found to be in violation and blocked or removed.

Microsoft also recently joined other online firms to support the European Commission Code of Conduct countering illegal hate speech online, Beauchere says.

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-tries-to-silence-internet-haters-2016-8


Categorized in Search Engine

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, has changed a lot since its initial launch. Originally launched in 2009 to replace Microsoft’s Live Search, which was in turn a replacement for MSN Search, there’s been plenty of new designs for the search engine over the years. Earlier this year we reported on an improved homepage design that was being tested, and it seems yet another A/B test has begun. This test is currently appearing in Microsoft Edge on a single account, and it’s unknown if it will appear outside of the United States.

This test allows users to customize the Bing homepage, and it’s pretty early along. My account’s profile picture only appeared as a placeholder image (when it showed up normally in browsers where the test wasn’t taking place), and it seems like it might be expanded upon.

The notification that lets you know if you're in the test
The notification that lets you know if you’re in the test

You’re initially notified if you’re one of the people in the test, as a popup (pictured above) shows up to tell you you can customize your Bing homepage. Whilst your original thought might be that you can change the homepage background to one of your choosing, that isn’t the case. You’ve got two new options – the ability to hide your interests and news on the bottom bar, and the ability to hide the menu bar.



Bing's new options menu
Bing’s new options menu

Hiding the menu bar doesn’t totally hide it, however. It removes its background, as well as the items on the left side, simply leaving the right side awkwardly sitting there. It’s presumed that if this does roll out this might change.

The Bing homepage with the menu bar disabled
The Bing homepage with the menu bar disabled

It’s currently unknown when this will roll out – if at all. The previous A/B test we reported disappeared after around a month, and we’ve yet to hear about its return. This is a far more simple change, though, so there’s a higher probability of it reaching every single Bing user in the future.



Source : http://mspoweruser.com/might-able-customize-bing-homepage-soon/

Categorized in Search Engine

Most people completely ignore their spam folders. But I scour mine to find the latest scam, which acts like cyber-flypaper for all sorts of swindles.

Recently I got a message congratulating me on winning something from “Yahoo YHOO +% Inc.” The subject line simply read “Yahoo Promotion.”

Of course, it was some kind of fraud designed me to open an attached file and download a virus, malware or some other malicious software. Or they simply wanted to steal personal information for the purposes of identity theft.

So I didn’t open it.

Most likely, the scam was a ruse to get me to provide personal information like a bank account or Social Security number. Needless to say, I didn’t take this any further and jettisoned the email from my spam folder.

According to Yahoo! Answers, this is how the swindle works:

“You can not win something you did not enter or play. Besides, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, Microsoft MSFT +%, MSN and Aol do not have lotteries, reward programs, promotions, or contests.

It is a scam to get your personal information and/or money.

  • Do not respond to it.
  • Report it, forward it to the FTC here.
  • For Yahoo, report them here. Choose “fraud” as the reason for the violation you’re reporting on.
  • If the E-mail appears to be impersonating a bank or other company or organization, forward the message to the actual organization.”

Sadly though, I can imagine some naive person opening that file and sending personal identification and getting fleeced through an identity theft scam. Although no one knows for sure how many get deceived by this fraud, it’s probably more than what authorities are saying.

What kinds of red flags should you look for? Here are some more tips from the FTC:

Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.

Check Them Out. Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.

Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up.

Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.

Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union WU +% or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit or Vanilla.

Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.

John Wasik is the author of "The Debt-Free Degree," "Keynes's Way to Wealth"and 13 other books. He writes and speaks about money across the globe. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2016/08/28/scam-alert-yahoo-promotion/#5b1641743542

Categorized in Internet Privacy


Google needs to strengthen more of its segments

If you have been reading my articles, then you may have noticed that I have mixed feelings about Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the parent company of Google. On the one hand I love the stranglehold Google has on the search engine market, its sheer dominance in the mobile operating system space and, of course, the evergreen YouTube angle. But despite having some of the brightest minds in the world on its payrolls, Google is still a one-trick pony that keeps failing at nearly every other trick it tries to do.

As such, Google is still highly reliant on its advertising revenues from search and partner sites, and this is what I’d like to explore in some depth.

Despite having disrupted the search game early on, the company is continually expanding the touch points surrounding its search engine. Take Chrome for example, the world’s leading browser: This is the conduit through which Google gets a lot of its search traffic.

  • FB 15-Year Financial Data
  • The intrinsic value of FB
  • Peter Lynch Chart of FB


Another conduit is Android, the world’s most prolific operating system with over 80% global market share. The majority of non-iOS devices that are sold each year come with Android, with Chrome being the default search engine despite the Chinese attempt to promote UC browser on certain smartphone models that it makes.



Yet another conduit is Google Maps, which has not only made our lives easier on the road, but is also dominating the GPS mapping world. It is the most-used map application by far, permeating nearly every mobile device in the world. It’s free, but you'll notice a lot of it points back to Google Search. Whether it’s a restaurant you’re looking for or information you need about a particular location, search is right there on the heels of Google Maps.

It’s clear that all of these products have one focal point, and that is Google’s search engine. As a result of that ecosystem, Google now has the wide moat possible protecting its search engine business.


But can the same be said of its advertising business, which is their main breadwinner?

If Search is Google’s crowd-puller, then the cashier must be advertising. As the crowds spend their precious time on Google search and, through it, its partner sites, the company has the opportunity to serve them ads. The more time users spend on search, the greater the opportunity, and Google has been able to leverage this to create tens of billions of dollars in revenues each year.



As the world’s internet penetration increases, Google is practically in lockstep with it, pushing its own search and advertising agenda to new users in the far corners of the world. There are several countries around the world where Internet penetration is still low and, as such, there are a lot more potential users for Google to reach out to.


Though Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has turned the heat up on Google and is vying to get as many advertising dollars as possible, the online advertising market is expected to grow at 12.7% CAGR (according to Mckinsey) for the next five years, so there is still enough room for both the companies to keep increasing their revenues.

With no credible competitor of size to challenge their mobile operating system Android or the default Chrome browser, the chances of Google search falling out of grace from mobile customers are very slim.

What Google has done is create a legal monopoly on the world’s online quest for information, hosting 1.2 trillion searches per year. Advertising revenue is merely the fruit of that tree, and Google has a pretty strong fence around that tree.



The one thing I can’t stand to see is Google wasting billions of dollars with no apparent method to the madness. I’m being brutal, but half the time I have no clue what Sundar Pichai is talking about on the earnings call. In stark contrast are the direct and insightful comments made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when quizzed by analysts at the end of the calls. At least with Microsoft you know the direction they’re taking.

With Google you can never be too sure.

Its Other Bets, for example, are so diverse that the units resemble a massive conglomerate of businesses with none of them showing significant top line income. Perhaps that’s why Alphabet is trying to bring more accountability to Other Bets - push them out of the nest and maybe they’ll learn to fly yet.

With potentially powerful lines of business sitting in their line of sight - artificial intelligence, mobile virtual reality, cloud, autonomous cars, social media, paid video streaming - it’s about time Google made a dent in at least one of them to supplement its advertising business.

Source : http://www.gurufocus.com/news/438938/how-strong-is-googles-search-business


Categorized in Search Engine

Apple is getting picked on by two of its biggest competitors.

Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFTTech30) used some of Apple (AAPLTech30)'s well-known user pain points to promote their own services in two separate TV and YouTube ads this month.

On Tuesday, Microsoft went after Apple by pitting its new Surface Pro 4 tablet and Cortana smart assistant against the iPad Pro and Siri.

Microsoft's new ad shows the iPad and Siri throwing a party for "getting a keyboard."

"I'm a computer now, like you," Siri says to Cortana.

"So you have more power, like an Intel Core processor?" Cortana responds.

"Like I said, I just got a keyboard," says Siri.

makes Cortana list out several other features of the Surface Pro 4, which leads Siri to concede, "Maybe this party wasn't such a good idea."


Microsoft and Apple have a history of going after each other through marketing campaigns: For years, Apple ran a series of anti-PC commercials starring Justin Long and John Hodgman. And this year, Microsoft has been pushing its "PCs can do more than Macs" message in commercials.

Source : http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/17/technology/apple-ads-google-microsoft/index.html 

Categorized in Search Engine

Microsoft announced last week that the default search engine on Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10 will be Baidu, not Bing.

The announcement read:

Together, we will make it easy for Baidu customers to upgrade to Windows 10 and we will deliver a custom experience for customers in China, providing local browsing and search experiences. Baidu.com will become the default homepage and search for the Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10. Baidu’s new Windows 10 distribution channel, Baidu “Windows 10 Express” will make it easy for Chinese Internet users to download an official Windows 10 experience. Additionally, Baidu will deliver Universal Windows Applications for Search, Video, Cloud and Maps for Windows 10.

We remain deeply committed to delivering Bing around the world and we’re also committed to offering locally relevant experiences - like Baidu in China - to provide great Windows 10 experiences.


This is a pretty big deal for Microsoft and honestly makes a statement.

The obvious point, as engine said in WebmasterWorld, "there's an interesting fact there that is worth highlighting - Microsoft drops Bing as default search for Baidu in China."

Source : https://www.seroundtable.com/baidu-default-edge-browser-20952.html 

Categorized in Search Engine

Microsoft is introducing some of its Cortana personal assistant smarts to its desktop search engine, with a new feature rolling out today that will use your previous query to inform your next, providing it with key contextual information so that you can search more conversationally, in the same way you’d ask follow-up questions of a friend during a regular chat.

So, if you’re searching for a specific actor, maybe by asking who played Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, Bing will not only provide you with Chris Pratt’s name directly in results, but you can ask follow-up questions, like “Who is his wife?” or “How old is he?” and the search engine will provide those answers directly about the subject of the prior search, once again in the results page directly.

These are features that Microsoft is rolling out now, so users in the U.S. at least should have access to it. You can continue asking questions without having to name the subject of the search, too, so it really does become like a fairly lengthy conversation over time.

Microsoft’s efforts in bringing more contextual smarts to Bing are admirable, since it brings us closer to the day we can interact with our computing devices in ways more similar to the habits we have in interacting with the world in general. This should make it easier and faster to string queries together and find simple answers to simple questions, and eventually, it could make it possible for search engines and other computing software to engage in even complex conversations with end users.



Categorized in Search Engine

Bing has long been the butt of jokes, as the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) search engine is often seen as a second-rate competitor to Google, an Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) subsidiary.

But in Microsoft's latest fiscal year, which ended on June 30, its search advertising business brought in roughly an estimated $5.5 billion in revenue. That's more than major digital advertising platforms such as Twitter or Tencent, although it still pales in comparison with the $52 billion Google brought in from its owned and operated websites last year.

More importantly, Microsoft managed to make Bing profitable in 2016. Bing's transformation from a money pit to a profitable business that's still growing at a formidable pace can help offset some of the revenue losses Microsoft is experiencing from the decline in PC sales.

Can the growth continue?

When Microsoft announced that Bing had turned profitable during its fiscal first quarter, it pointed to the adoption of Windows 10 as a big driver of Bing searches and revenue. Search advertising revenue growth accelerated this year after the release of the new OS. Revenue grew 54% last quarter, compared with 21% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.

In the quarterly conference call, Microsoft said more than 40% of June's search revenue came from Windows 10 devices. But Windows 10's free upgrade window will close at the end of the month, which means the adoption rate is sure to slow down over the next year. As such, it's unlikely the boost Bing is experiencing from its prominent position in Windows 10 will last much longer. Microsoft says it currently has 350 million active devices running Windows 10, and it recently walked back its original goal of reaching 1 billion devices by 2018.


Microsoft has also benefited from strategic partnerships such as the one in place with Apple to make Bing the search engine behind the iPhone's digital assistant, Siri. Apple had a huge year of sales last year, but it's now starting to experience a decline in iPhone unit sales. Microsoft also struck a deal with Amazon.com to make Bing the default search engine on its Fire tablets and the search engine behind the popular Alexa smart speaker, which took off last year.

With several major growth drivers in fiscal 2016, Bing had a great year. 2017 will have challenges from the slowdown of Windows 10 and iPhone adoption, as well as the potential for another digital-advertising platform to acquire one of its partners.

Growing profitability

While Microsoft doesn't break out the profitability of Bing, there are reasons to be optimistic that Bing will continue to become more profitable even if growth slows this year.

One important factor is that Microsoft outsourced its display advertising business at the beginning of fiscal 2016. That has allowed the company to focus its sales team on its search advertisements, which generally carry higher prices and margins than display ads. That makes the sales team more cost-efficient for Microsoft to run while it collects high-margin revenue from outsourcing its display ads.

Microsoft is still growing its ad prices, as indicated by the language "higher revenue per search" in its earnings releases. With a continued focus on search ad sales, ad prices should continue to climb. By comparison, Google continues to see its average ad price decline as it gets more traffic from mobile and YouTube TrueView ads. Although that's more than offset by an increase in ad impressions.

While Bing will likely never overtake Google for search supremacy, it has successfully transformed the search engine and advertising business from a joke to a nice profit center for investors. Investors can expect those profits to continue to grow going forward, even if revenue growth faces some challenges.

Growth from Bing is helping to offset the decline in personal-computing revenue, and with signs that the PC market is stabilizing, it could result in incremental net income in the near future.


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Categorized in Search Engine
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