Bing gets in shape with search updates for exercise & healthy recipe-related queries

Bing has added new search updates aimed at helping its health-conscious users.
Now, when you search for “workouts” or “exercises,” Bing will deliver carousel-styled search results with images that link to a wide variety of exercise options.
Filters within the carousel make it possible to narrow the search by gender, difficulty, target-area, type of exercise, or type of workout equipment.

Bing has added the same carousel results for yoga and Pilates-specific searches, in addition to including how-to videos at the top of search results for a limited number of yoga poses.

The Bing App has new updates as well, focused on healthy recipe-related searches. Queries for search terms like “low-fat recipes” and “low-fat stew recipes” will return a carousel of results where users can drill down via a “Nutrients” tab to see calorie counts, carbs, fat content and more for food items.
Users can also find calorie counts by searching “calories in a cup of” and adding a food item to the

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Bing local search update highlights business holiday hours in local listings

Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, Bing announced it was helping business owners display the correct hours of operation via their local search listing on Bing.
From the Bing Search Blog: “Bing local is collaborating with business owners and trusted partners to get accurate holiday hours in real time. When you search for local businesses, you’ll receive up-to-date changes for holiday hours.”
Bing included the following image to highlight how holiday hours will be displayed for local listings:

The updates rolled out for both desktop and mobile on November 23 and will be available for all future holidays, according to Bing.
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Bing’s “My Saves” feature lets users save video, image and shopping searches across devices

Bing announced a new “My Saves” feature today that makes it possible for users signed into their Bing accounts to save video, image and shopping searches so that they can be accessed at a later time across their desktop and mobile devices.
According to the announcement, hovering over a video or image search result will display a ‘Save’ icon at the bottom of the video or image frame. Clicking on the ‘Save’ option will add the video or image to the “My Saves” folder located under the settings icon on Bing’s homepage.
Bing shared the following video to explain how the new feature works:

Bing’s Shopping search results are also able to be saved:
For shopping searches, you’ll see a blue banner above images that reads, ‘See shopping results’. Clicking on this will filter your results to images of products you can purchase. You can save your favorite search results and access them from ‘My Saves’ at a later time so

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Bing search app for iOS & Android gets new music, video & map features

Bing has released new updates to its search app for iOS and Android, adding new music and video features, along with more map options.
The updated version 6.7.2 Bing search app will now play a video without sound directly in search results with the lyrics listed below the video — a feature that has been available on Bing desktop. The app also includes a new Music page listing trending songs and artists.

According to a report on the Android Community website, Bing’s search app can also give the title to a song being played: “In case you’re looking for a specific song, you can use the Bing Search app by typing the name of the song or if something is playing, it will tell you what it is.”
In addition to updates around music, users can add movie titles to their Netflix and Amazon Prime watch lists from the app’s Movies page.
Bing has also added the option for users to

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Bing adds 2016 Rio Olympic Games search feature & “Events to Watch” prediction tool

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Bing is getting into the Olympic spirit, bringing the 2016 Rio Olympic Games into its search results and launching its “Events to Watch” feature, recommending must-see Olympic events based on Bing Predicts technology.
Now, Olympic-related Bing searches will deliver a Rio Games box with tabs to navigate between Sports, Athletes, Schedule, Medals and Daily Predicts.

Bing will also track the number of medals won by each country and update daily its newly launched “Events to Watch,” suggesting the most anticipated 2016 Olympic events.
According to Bing, its “Events to Watch” feature delivers an optimized schedule of “must-watch” Olympic events based on projected upsets, new world records and the likelihood of a close competition — all calculated using Bing Predicts technology.
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Bing Launches Their Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool

Bing announced the release of their mobile friendliness test tool today. This was promised to us back in May 2015, when Bing told us they were working on a mobile-friendly Bing ranking algorithm. It was actually expected in the late summer but was delayed.
The tool evaluates a page to check if it is mobile-friendly based on these criteria:

Viewport and Zoom control configuration
Width of page content
Readability of text on the page
Spacing of links and other elements on the page
Use of incompatible plug-ins

Here is a screen shot of the tool in action. As you can see, it shows a preview of the site on the right side:

Bing has not yet announced the launch of their mobile-friendly algorithm; that may come soon.
Bing’s blog post does include a lot of detail on why a website might fail any of the above criteria, so check it out. You can access the tool at this URL.
Google launched their mobile-friendly testing tool just about

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Cortana For Android Is Officially Available For Download In US Beta

A month ago Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana became available for download in a pre-beta release. Now an official US beta version of Cortana for Android is here. An iOS version is coming soon.
The full Cortana experience and functionality are available to Windows 10 and Windows Phone users. But because Cortana for Android doesn’t access your email or read your calendar it can’t deliver the same depth of functionality and features on Android. Nonetheless I was able to use Cortana in its beta form today for a wide range of tasks:

As a voice-enabled search engine for web queries
To initiate texts and calls with voice
Set alarms
Create reminders
Create meeting and calendar entries
Get driving directions (it uses Google Maps)
Conduct local searches near me (this was a standout feature)

From a technical standpoint I don’t know what prevents Cortana currently from reading my email (Gmail) or Google Calendar. On the iPhone I actually rely more heavily on the Outlook mail app, which presumably

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Bing News Adds “Smart Labels” For Mobile, Making It Easier To Find Related Headlines

Bing News announced today it has rolled out a new “Smart Labels” feature for mobile that links articles by key topics, helping users explore related headlines.
The Smart Labels will appear at the bottom right corner of a news story; “advanced technology” enables them to deduce the primary topic of the story and how it relates to other news stories.
Users can click the Smart Label to explore more headlines related to a specific topic.
We’re offering a way to quickly understand how individual news articles relate to a bigger picture just by skimming headlines across different news topics.
Bing offered the following example, showing how users can navigate from a headline about Putin to a related headline concerning gas pipelines, and from there to the Turkish Stream, Russian Pipeline and Black Sea.
Bing News “Smart Labels”

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Cortana For Android Available For Download Ahead Of Official Launch

A few days ago, Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana became available for download. This is not the official launch and it’s not clear the software is ready for all Android devices. It certainly didn’t function properly on my Nexus tablet.
Several people have already written about it and it appears to be fully functioning for some. I downloaded it onto my Nexus 7 and was able to execute certain functions and commands. However I had difficulty with others. I had planned to do a Cortana vs. Google (Now) comparison post but will have to defer that until later.
I was able to do some but not all types of searches. I successfully set calendar appointments, reminders and got driving directions. But I had surprising difficulty sending email, conducting local searches or getting answers to simple questions such as “how much is the Dollar worth vs. the Euro?”

Many of my queries yielded a blank screen (see above right). Presumably it’s the

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New Microsoft “Three Generations” Campaign Packs Emotional Punch

Microsoft has a long and checkered history when it comes to product advertising. Perhaps you recall the cringeworthy yet bizarrely compelling “Bing Goes the Internet” ad campaign in the early days of the search engine’s existence. Here’s one of those clips:

Then there was the Microsoft campaign mocking the iPhone — mildly funny at points but still goofy and awkward:

There’s also the Bing It On Challenge and the Jerry Seinfeld ads, which were better but mixed.
A new campaign released today — though apparently not originally intended as an ad — is quite a bit more effective than most of these other ads. It’s a much more subtle and powerful plug for Bing and other Microsoft products, such as Skype, Surface tablets and Windows Phones.
Called “Three Generations,” it tells the story of an adult woman having a baby on her own, with the help and support of her father, whose wife (the woman’s mother) is deceased. The Microsoft products are woven into the

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