Tag Archives: Bing Predicts

Future of Work, advancing AI on GitHub and Bing’s predictions for upcoming primaries and caucuses — Weekend Reading: Jan. 29 edition

This installment of Weekend Reading leads off with a new website that focuses on workplace culture, a research toolkit tied to artificial intelligence and Bing’s Election 2016 experience.

The Future of Work explores how the role of an organization’s leader may be changing, but is more important than ever. In order to create organizations that can adapt to change, leaders need to actively shape an open workplace culture that fosters collaboration and builds trust. On this site, PopTech and Microsoft Office Envisioning speak to experts on the future of work.


By releasing its Computational Network Toolkit on GitHub, Microsoft is making the tools that its own researchers use to speed up advances in artificial intelligence available to a broader group of developers. Next at Microsoft tells you all about CNTK.


On Feb. 1, the Iowa caucus marks the beginning of the next phase in the 2016 election. Bing’s Election 2016 experience includes the Bing Political Index (BPI), which shows where each candidate stands on the key issues, while predictions will appear alongside live results. Bing Predicts also calls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to emerge as the big winners of the upcoming primaries and caucuses.

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of Hack for Her

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of Hack for Her

Hack for Her, which Microsoft hosted Jan. 12, is bringing together corporations, universities and other organizations to form a community that demonstrates a new approach to strengthen the value proposition of products from a female perspective.

“Building products for everyone starts with gender-inclusive design,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of Hack for Her. “The biggest emerging market today isn’t China or India; it’s women, who have $18 trillion of spending power.” Read more about it on The Official Microsoft Blog.

We saw the debut of “Rise of the Tomb Raider” on Windows 10, a new Microsoft Garage app called News Pro and the Power BI Windows 10 universal app.  The latest Red Stripe Deals also rolled out Thursday, and on Wednesday our App of the Week was TripAdvisor, which gives travelers using Windows 10 devices a valuable tool in planning vacations. Mulder and Scully fans can also shop in the Windows Store for the return of “The X-Files.”

This week on the Microsoft Instagram channel, we followed the players of Real Madrid as they prepare for the fútbol season ahead. For these athletes, a winning season comes from passion, purpose and preparation.

That’s it for this edition. See you next Friday for another Weekend Reading.

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Bing’s NFL playoff picks, Skype’s big milestone and the new Microsoft Envision event — Weekend Reading: Jan. 15 edition

Bing’s sports predictions, beautiful murals around the world and a photographer’s Great Barrier Reef adventure are just a few reasons to take a look back at the week’s news at Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

If you’re settling in to watch some football this weekend, you may want to first check out which teams Bing Predicts expects to win. Seattle or Carolina? Kansas City or New England? You can find predictions for the divisional round matchups on Bing or using the new “Cortana! Powered by Bing Predicts” feature on Xbox and the Windows 10 app.

Bing also offers what ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams calls “a one-of-a-kind predictive NCAAB experience” with AreWeIn.net, a data-driven tool that predicts whether your favorite teams will make this year’s NCAA tournament.

WR bing predicts

This week Skype marked a big milestone: 10 years since it changed the way people connect with colleagues and loved ones with the launch of free video calling. To celebrate, Skype is rolling out group video calling on Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows 10 mobile — and it’s free.

Skype video calling has been used in incredible ways on various platforms and devices. Couples use it to keep in touch when they’re apart, soldiers use it to witness the births of their children, explorers in remote areas connect with classrooms of students and more. Users have made nearly 2 trillion minutes of video calls over the past decade.

What’s more, Skype Translator is now available to all Skype for Windows customers.

This week Microsoft announced a new flagship event for business leaders, Microsoft Envision, to take place April 4-6 in New Orleans. It replaces Microsoft Convergence as the premier event for execs and business leaders around the world. Registration is now open.

Attendees “can expect to gain insights, uncover solutions and build connections to help them achieve more,” writes Chris Capossela, Microsoft executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

It’s also almost time to reserve your place at Build 2016; registration opens Tuesday. The three-day developer conference begins March 30 this year in San Francisco.

For those of you who appreciate unusual art, local artists in 17 cities around the world have created stunning murals that bring new color to their communities as part of the “Designed on Surface” project. The collaboration is aimed at art that embodies the spirit of people who do great things and the places that inspire them.

Graffiti artists drew inspiration from Microsoft’s core theme, “Do great things,” and each used the latest Microsoft devices to enhance their creative process.


In the enviable adventures department, National Geographic photographer Steven Alvarez traveled light on his 10-day shoot of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef: He brought just a few Microsoft devices to capture about 10,000 photos.

The spectacular trip was part of his mission to capture the Seven Natural Wonders of the World with Lumia devices. He came away with quite a story to share, along with tips for underwater photography using a Lumia phone.

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In apps this week, there’s plenty to keep you busy this winter weekend, no matter what Mother Nature has in mind. You can try liberating the world in the World War II-inspired “Panzer Geekz,” which sends you through model landscapes with combat based in toy physics and plastic destruction rather than graphic carnage.

Or put the pedal to the metal in “Smashy Road: Wanted” and go on the run from police, SWAT teams, Army jeeps and thundering tanks as you choose from dozens of different vehicles and navigate erratically changing terrain.

The latest table pack in the “Star Wars” Pinball lineup, “Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens,” is now available for “Pinball FX2” on Xbox One and Xbox 360, and is coming soon to Windows 10. The two-pack ($2.99 each as an in-app purchase) presents two different perspectives on the smash hit film.

“The Banner Saga,” now out for Xbox One, is a tactical, role-playing game based on quick, brutal decisions. The game’s art director and writer share how this thrilling adventure came together in an interview with Xbox Wire.

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This week on the Microsoft Tumblr page, we caught up with Sonja Rasula, founder of Unique Markets and The Unique Space, which bring the work of local designers, artisans and creatives to the public.  Her focus on quality over quantity is fostering the future of makers in the United States.


You’re now caught up on the latest news around Microsoft. See you back here in one week for our next edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

Expanding access to prenatal care in Africa, connecting cars in Vegas and making Windows 10 and Xbox history – Weekend Reading, Jan. 8 edition

Welcome to the first edition of Weekend Reading in 2016! From Africa to Vegas, Microsoft was busy making all kinds of news this week. Let’s take a look.

Wubwub. Wubwub. Wubwub.

The moment an expectant mother first hears her unborn child’s heartbeat is immense, but many pregnant women in Africa never experience that joy, due to a lack of access to ultrasounds and prenatal care. To help them, a group of African developers have created WinSenga, an affordable, smartphone-based ultrasound that helps doctors and midwives more easily monitor fetal health. Part of a Microsoft Imagine Cup competition project, WinSenga also helps mothers hear the comforting sounds of their baby’s heartbeat.

“It’s not just a great way to track the health of the pregnancy and raise awareness if there are problems. It brings peace of mind for the mothers. Mothers always want to hear their baby’s heartbeat,” said Joshua Okello, co-founder and team leader for Cipher256, the Ugandan-based company that created WinSenga.


On the other side of the world, Microsoft showcased new, innovative technologies at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It demonstrated mobility solutions for connected cars, as part of new partnerships with big automakers and automotive technology companies announced at the show.

Volvo Cars, Nissan, Harman and IAV are now using Microsoft technology to enhance their connected car strategies. They join Toyota, Ford and other companies already working with Microsoft to bring their cars into a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

“In the near future, the car will be connected to the Internet, as well as to other cars, your mobile phone and your home computer,” writes Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of Business Development. “The car becomes a companion and an assistant to your digital life. And so our strategy is to be the ultimate platform for all intelligent cars.”


Browsing the Web with Microsoft Edge and Fierce XL

CES was also the place for a bounty of Windows 10 news. ALCATEL ONETOUCH introduced Fierce XL, its first-ever Windows 10 phone, which has a 5.5-inch HD display, Cortana, Microsoft Edge and other Windows 10 goodies. Samsung revealed the sleek Galaxy TabPro S, a 2-in-1 tablet built for Windows 10. And Dell showed off an expanded portfolio of its Latitude commercial PCs, which feature Windows 10 Pro.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga has many modes.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga has many modes.

Ahead of CES, Lenovo announced its new ThinkPad X1 Yoga, a 2.8-pound, 0.66-inch-thick powerhouse. HP unveiled the HP EliteBook Folio, a new commercial-grade PC built in collaboration with Microsoft and Skype for Business. And Acer introduced the Liquid Jade Primo, a new Windows 10 phone, and updated its Aspire V Nitro “Black Edition” notebook with the latest Intel RealSense short range camera.

In other Windows 10 news, Microsoft announced that more than 200 million devices are now running Windows 10. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows and Devices Marketing, said the operating system is having the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows. “We continue to be excited – and humbled – by the incredible response to Windows 10,” Mehdi wrote.


Xbox also had good news to share, with record numbers of Xbox gaming over the holidays. More gamers used Xbox Live on Dec. 28 than on any other day in Xbox history, and Christmas week saw an increase in Xbox One and Xbox 360 gaming hours over the same time period in 2014. Xbox One also announced two new bundles to help usher in the New Year: the Xbox One “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” Bundle and the Xbox One 500GB Name Your Game Bundle.


Bing was hard at work again with its predictions, this time calling for New England to repeat its win as pro football champions and “Spotlight” to win the Golden Globe for best dramatic movie. If you follow football and entertainment awards, Bing Predicts is your guide.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visits the Microsoft Social Innovation Hub at the National Council for Women in Cairo.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visits the Microsoft Social Innovation Hub at the National Council for Women in Cairo.

Finally, on the Microsoft Instagram channel this week, we followed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as he visited the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt to learn how students, teachers and entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of technology to make an impact in the Middle East.

The trip was the latest in Nadella’s journeys around the world, from Kenya to Chile, where he’s met people using technology to make a difference. Nadella shared some of their stories and wrote that he’s looking forward to “continuing to learn and see first-hand how digital technology is empowering people to make things and make things happen.”

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

Young people dive into Hour of Code, Cortana now on iOS and Android, and wacky out-of-office messages – Weekend Reading: Dec. 11 edition

Hour of Code, YouthSpark, education

Students from Knollwood School in Fair Haven, New Jersey, participate in the “Minecraft” Hour of Code tutorial at the Microsoft flagship store on Dec. 7, 2015 in New York City. (Donald Traill/ AP Images for Microsoft)

The moment when “I can do this!” strikes: There were millions of such moments this week around the world during Hour of Code, as young people learned to tap into the power of coding. Cortana came to iOS and Android. And, just in time for the holidays, Microsoft launched the “Center for Out of Office Excellence,” a fun site to help you create your own OOO (out-of-office) memes with a bit of ‘tude. A busy and gratifying week, to be sure:

Microsoft hosted coding sessions with young people in more than 50 countries around the world, and held hundreds of “Minecraft” Hour of Code camps in Microsoft stores in North America. Thousands of Microsoft employees volunteered their time to help teach and inspire young people during the third annual event, which coincides with Computer Science Education Week in the U.S. The “Minecraft”-inspired coding tutorial was created by the game’s designers in collaboration with Code.org engineers. Want to try the “Minecraft” Hour of Code for yourself? “Block” out some time (sorry!) and go for it!

Hour of Code, Minecraft tutorial, YouthSpark, education, youths

Cortana became available on select iPhone, Android and Cyanogen OS-powered devices, broadening its availability as a great companion experience to Windows 10 PCs. Look up info, get helpful suggestions and just plain get more done. Last May, Microsoft announced that Cortana would be the first personal digital assistant to help you “complete tasks across your devices, from PC to phone and vice versa regardless of your device of choice,” says Marcus Ash, Cortana group program manager. This week’s news is “a big step in delivering on that promise – bringing even more ways to save you time and effort anywhere you need it.”

Cortana, iOS, Android

Cortana, ready to serve you, now on select iOS, Android and Cyanogen OS-powered devices.

Planning to be out of the office for the holidays, and need to let others know with an “OOO” email? Microsoft has launched the “Center for Out of Office Excellence,” a “cheery, not-so-serious site to help you create your own OOO (out-of-office) memes,” writes Vanessa Ho. “Upload an image, choose a design type and revel in the joy of OOO.” Learn about the secret history of the Out Of Office message, and the meaning behind one popular acronym for it, OOF, and why it has that mysterious “F” in it.

Outlook, Out of Office emails

Bing unveiled new features to help you follow the debates, issues and candidates for the 2016 elections. When you search on election topics in Bing, you can now see in-depth candidate pages and the Bing Political Index, a look at where each candidate stands on an issue. Powered by the Bing Predicts engine, the index can help you better understand the candidates’ positions on the issues.

Bing, Elections 2016

TuneIn Radio, our App of the Week, is now available for Windows 10 PCs and tablets. With the free app, you can choose from more than 100,000 stations worldwide that deliver music, sports, talk radio and news. You also have access to top podcasts, too.

App of the Week, TuneIn, Windows

The Now Playing screen in the TuneIn Radio app for Windows 10.

Microsoft researchers announced a major advance in technology designed to identify the objects in a photograph or video, showcasing a system whose accuracy meets and sometimes exceeds human-level performance. Microsoft’s new approach to recognizing images also took first place in several major categories of image recognition challenges Thursday, beating out many other competitors from academic, corporate and research institutions in the ImageNet and Microsoft Common Objects in Context challenges. Also this week: Five Microsoft researchers honored as Fellows and Distinguished Scientists by the Association for Computing Machinery.

This week on the Microsoft social channels, we launched a Tumblr page, called Inspired By. It is a collection of stories celebrating the people who go above and beyond, reach their dreams, and inspire us every day. Follow along as we share more inspiring stories.

Tumblr, GIF

That’s all for this edition of Weekend Reading. Relax and restore over these next few days, and we’ll see you back here next Friday!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Tech Talent for Good launches, Microsoft Garage unveils new apps, language diversity embraced – Weekend Reading: Feb. 27 Edition

A lot of news and feats happened this week, making today’s Weekend Reading a catalog of great ideas to inspire you.

First up, Microsoft announced that its employees raised a record $117 million for nearly 20,000 nonprofits and schools in 2014. And to help employees give their time as well as money, the company unveiled Tech Talent for Good, a new program that encourages employees to help nonprofits with their technical skills. Microsoft also increased its company volunteer match to $25 per hour.

“Many of our employees have asked how they can do more for their local communities, and we are proud to provide this increased matching contribution and this new way to participate in the Microsoft Employee Giving Program,” wrote Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft executive vice president of Human Resources, and Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel and executive vice president of Legal & Corporate Affairs.

Microsoft employee Jeff Gollnick, left, volunteers at the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Microsoft employee Jeff Gollnick, left, volunteers at the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

The creative brainiacs at The Microsoft Garage released nine new apps, proving again they’re not holed up in a studio playing foozball. The eclectic, cross-platform apps include Your Weather, which customizes air quality reports in China; Join Conference, a time saver for conference callers; and DevSpace, a tool for easy access to Visual Studio Online projects.

“Great ideas are easy. The magic happens where execution meets data,” said Ed Essey, senior program manager, whose business card reads “Captain of the Ship.” That magic would be the Garage, a global community of more than 10,000 Microsoft employees and interns.

Milind Solage and Soniya Khoja created DevSpace, one of nine apps released from The Microsoft Garage this week. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Milind Solage and Soniya Khoja created DevSpace, one of nine apps released from The Microsoft Garage this week. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Microsoft also made news and gave shout-outs to several of its teams in commemorating Saturday’s International Mother Language Day. Microsoft Translator introduced Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi in an ongoing effort in preserve languages. Work continued on the ground-breaking Universal Shaping Engine, which allows you to type in Balinese, Tirhuta and other complex scripts in Windows 10. And Microsoft supported Chekov, a great tool for writing and recording dynamic eBooks – and increasing literacy in all languages.

Universal Shaping Engine supports the encoding of the Soyombo script, pictured.

Universal Shaping Engine supports the encoding of the Soyombo script, pictured.

Speaking of breaking new ground, Julie Larson-Green, chief experience officer for Microsoft’s Applications and Services Group, received the 2015 Women of Vision Leadership Award from the Anita Borg Institute. The award honors female trailblazers in technology.

For more than 20 years at Microsoft, Larson-Green has been a leader in user interface design and pioneer in product development and engineering. She’s the force behind the Office “ribbon,” which still shapes UI design today.

“Julie’s remarkable ability to unify leaders and teams to a single mission and create a shared vision of how technology can be built in a cohesive cross-system approach has led to significant product improvements,” the institute said.

Julie Larson-Green

Julie Larson-Green

The kids rocked it at We Day California, an annual celebration of young people who want to change the world. It’s sponsored by Microsoft YouthSpark. Microsoft also invited youths ages 13-25 to submit entries for the YouthSpark Challenge for Change, a global contest to use Microsoft technology and YouthSpark resources to creative positive social change.

Microsoft YouthSpark Advocates arrive at We Day California on Feb. 25, 2015 in San Jose, California. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Microsoft YouthSpark Advocates arrive at We Day California on Feb. 25, 2015 in San Jose, California. Photo: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Want to sound really smart? Hang out with Bing Predicts. The machine-learning algorithm correctly predicted the top six Academy Awards Sunday and foretold 16 of 19 Oscar wins. The feature is now setting its sights on the new season of “American Idol.” Remember, Bing knew last year’s “Idol” winner months before Caleb Johnson actually won.

And finally, Microsoft’s Instagram page made a stop in Los Angeles, where it met modern-day Renaissance man Sal Masekela. He’s a reporter, surfer, musician, filmmaker and action-sports host. Follow us on Instagram to find out what drives him to #DoMore.


Posted by Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

The cloud: making lives better, Bing predicts key events in 2015 and Skype Translator is unleashed — Weekend Reading: Dec. 19 Edition

Put down that purse! (Or man purse.) Weekend Reading is here to offer a much-needed break from the mall, and the cyber shopping, with some must-reads you won’t want to miss. … You’re welcome.

For more than a decade, Skype has been breaking down geographical barriers to make everyday audio and video communications possible. Now, using innovations from Microsoft Research, Skype is removing the language barrier. The first phase of Skype Translator, which includes two spoken languages, Spanish and English, and more than 40 instant messaging languages will be available to Skype customers who have signed-up via the Skype Translator and are using Windows 8.1 on their desktop or device.

Hang onto your virtual hat! Inspired by top searches of 2014, the Bing Predicts team has applied its technology to the coming year and uncovered emerging trends expected in 2015 by analyzing search, social and cultural signals. Bing predicts that the New England Patriots will take home the Lombardi trophy and that Beyoncé will earn a Grammy for Album of the Year. Bing’s window into 2015 includes predictions for fashion, sports, awards, travel, food and more.


For many with Type 1 diabetes, monitoring blood-sugar levels is an arduous affair. For parents of kids with Type 1 diabetes, it’s not only painstaking, it can be terrifying. Enter Nightscout, an open-source solution that uses the cloud to allow remote monitoring of blood-sugar levels in real time, all the time. Microsoft is assisting the effort with free access to Azure.


‘Tis the season for scams of all kinds, unfortunately. On the Microsoft on the Issues blog this week came guidance for protecting yourself against fraudulent companies masquerading as tech support. Microsoft has received more than 65,000 customer complaints regarding tech support scams since May, and wants consumers to be aware of the schemes that are out there and what to do to protect yourself.

Annie” – starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Rose Byrne – opened Thursday, to the happy shrieks of excited little girls everywhere. Director and writer Will Gluck reveals the starring role technology played in bringing the film to life. Gluck writes and updates documents using Microsoft Word. When he needed to approve costumes for “Annie,” he used Skype. When he needed to check out locations to film in New York, he used the Surface Globe app (powered by Bing Maps). “The reality is, you don’t really know how many Microsoft products you use until you think about it,” Gluck says.


In apps this week: Xim 1.3 enables you to share photos on the big screen via streaming media devices, including Xbox One, Chromecast, Apple TV and ADD Amazon Fire TV. Just in time for the holidays, more hot buys from the Music Deals app. Save the “Family Guy” town of Quahog with this clever game now free for Windows. Finally, brighten your holidays with a seasonal theme selection 40-apps and games strong from the Windows Phone Store: Celebrate Christmas in London with “Subway Surfers,” send personalized Christmas cards through “Talking Santa” and fight winter battles in “Cloud Raiders.”


This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met Garden Pool founder Dennis McClung. Dennis transformed an empty pool into a solar-powered self-sustaining ecosystem. Follow us on Instagram to see his story and meet more people like him.


Now, back to your regularly scheduled holiday rush — and warmest wishes for the new year. Weekend Reading will return to greet 2015 with your essential Microsoft news in review, Jan. 2.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

Cortana adds more sports tracking and predicts the winner of Dancing With The Stars

Last month, we rolled out a series of improvements to Cortana such as Daily Glance for your evenings, recommendations for concerts and local apps, and Chat Cards for flights. Most recently, we also added some new sports tracking experiences.

We’ve added tracking for new soccer leagues such as EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga, Italian Serie A, and Ligue 1. We’ve also added tracking for NCAA football teams as well. Cortana will also now show you the standings for major U.S. Majors leagues including the NFL.

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When you ask Cortana “Seahawks standings”, she will show you where the Seahawks stand in the NFC West. You can also ask her “NFC standings” for the latest standings in college football or “EPL standings” for the latest from FIFA games.


For a bit of fun – we’ve also added predictions for ABC’s Dancing With The Stars into Cortana powered by Bing Predicts. Just ask Cortana “Who will be eliminated in DWTS”, “Who is safe in DWTS”, or “Who is in jeopardy DWTS” for this week and she will give you an answer! You can even ask her “Who will win DWTS this year” to look ahead at what you might expect.

For a complete list of all the latest and greatest improvements and experiences we’ve brought to Cortana – click here.

Weekend Reading: Sept. 5th Edition — New devices unveiled at IFA and Xbox One coming to 29 new markets

It may be time to put away those flip flops and linen whites, but there’s no post-Labor Day blues for Weekend Reading. We’ve got a September that’s already full of sizzle. Check it out.

It’s been an exciting week in Berlin at IFA, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics trade shows, where Microsoft announced additions to the Lumia line of devices, including the ultimate Skype and selfie phones, while Yezz also announced devices with Windows Phone 8.1. And there were tablets, tablets and more tablets, writes Nick Parker, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, original equipment manufacturer division. For more on the latest in devices and PC gaming announcements at IFA, check out Parker’s post.

That slight snap in the air means only one thing: football! After nailing most of the matches during the biggest global soccer event this summer, Bing Predicts is ready to call NFL games, which means virtual assistant Cortana is the secret weapon that could elevate you to pro pigskin oracle.


Also in the category of awesome, Xbox One is coming to 29 new markets this month, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, announced Tuesday. The new markets include: Chile, Colombia, Japan, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and Russia, with Argentina in the works.

Want to know more about the people behind Bing? Check out this profile of Bing Data and Analytics Program Manager Kevin White and find out why red wine and data science make the perfect pairing.

WR_Kevin White

In other news this week, the Willis Independent School District in Texas announced it has chosen ASUS Transformer Book T100 tablets – equipped with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 – over Chromebooks for its students citing “flexibility, portability and security.” Here here!

Never enough football? The NFL Now app, which boasts a personalized video stream of your favorite teams, players and coaches, as well as breaking news, interviews and feature stories, is now available in the Windows Phone Store and the Windows Store. More mid-century than mid-field? Check out “Time Mysteries 3: The Final Enigma” for Windows and Windows Phone, which brings the timeless story of Esther Ambrose and her family to a stunning conclusion. And because there is life after Labor Day, download the GroupMe app for Windows Phone to connect with friends and coworkers and get the next round of party planning going. Finally, your Windows Phone does more than help you manage your calendar, it can also help you keep track of your medical records and doctor visits with the Microsoft Health Vault.


Here’s hoping there’s still a little sizzle left in your summer. See you back here for more hot news next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

Cortana now predicts outcomes of NFL match-ups

Earlier this summer, we enabled the ability for Cortana to predict the outcomes of soccer matches from Brazil through the magic of Bing. Cortana ended up predicting a near perfect bracket in the knockout rounds. Now, Bing is shifting gears for their prediction technology to American football – just in time for the start of the 2014 football season tomorrow. Bing will now predict the results of NFL match-ups. And we’re enabling this prediction behavior in Cortana. All you need to do is ask Cortana “Who will win Team A or Team B?” and she will provide an answer. If your device is running Windows Phone 8.1 – give it a shot!


Want to know more about how the predictions are made? Click here to read this blog post from Walter Sun from the Bing Predicts Team.

Weekend Reading: June 13 Edition — Xbox brings the big guns to E3, Bing maps favelas, soccer tournament mania

It’s been a long four years for soccer fans everywhere, but the wait is over. The world’s premiere fútbol tournament is finally here! To celebrate, we’ve got a Weekend Reading guaranteed to make you shout “GOOOAAAAAL!”

Also, on the list of big events this week, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, where Xbox made a splash with the announcement of a spectacular lineup of games, including the following, planned for a fall or holiday season launch: “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Sunset Overdrive,” “Fable Legends,” “Dance Central Spotlight” and “Forza Horizon 2.”

Feel like you need a crystal ball to compete in your soccer tournament office pool? Bing Predicts has you covered. That’s right. Your favorite search engine just got even smarter. And Bing has intel on more than fútbol. Since its launch this spring, Bing Predicts has accurately called the outcome of every week of “American Idol,” while also proving nearly perfect in predicting the results of “The Voice” and “Dancing with the Stars.”

This week, we also met the brains behind Cortana, your new personal assistant for Windows Phone 8.1., a.k.a. your gatekeeper, your mobile brain. Two years in the making and modelled on real-life personal assistants, Cortana was created by a team of scientists, software engineers and writers led by Marcus Ash.


As visitors from around the world descend on Brazil for the world’s premier soccer tournament, they will be able to find previously unmapped tourist attractions in Rio’s densely populated, informal settlements called favelas, thanks to Bing’s Na Área. The project, which used Nokia Lumia phones to capture the corresponding images, is a collaboration with residents as well as public and private partners.


Can’t make it to Rio? Xbox, Internet Explorer, Windows Phone, Skype and Bing have the next best thing: a bevy of ways to help enhance these weeks of soccer mania everyone’s been waiting for. Check out the Destination Brazil portal on Xbox One, a one-stop shop for all things fútbol. The Bing Sports app in the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store has been updated to include the tournament’s top stories, scores, standings, leading players and teams. And Internet Explorer is working with ESPN FC to bring the ESPN FC World Cup Essentials sports hub to the Web.


And because we can’t get enough of “the beautiful game,” check out the Onefootball Brasil app for Windows Phone, which provides up-to-date play-by-play match commentary, the latest news of the tournament, and match schedules, results and statistics, all through personalized push notifications. Also in apps this week, lots of practical stuff: Use the Hhonors app to book a room; manage your car’s maintenance with the Jiffy Lube app; catch up on the day’s headlines with The Seattle Times News. Or, if you just want to terrorize some swine, Angry Birds has gone Epic, with more worlds, more battles, more awesome, now available on Windows Phone.


In this week’s installment of Snaps, Microsoft Stories’ digital photo album, local kids play soccer in a favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where many of the world’s best professional soccer players will compete in the weeks ahead. Photo taken by National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez using a Nokia Lumia 1520.


This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced you to a group of graduating high school seniors planning their road ahead.

Here’s wishing your team multiple shots on goal this weekend. We’ll see you back here for more action, fútbol and otherwise, next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff