Online services

Microsoft researchers think local with HereHere

Microsoft's FuSE Labs is adding a second research project to its roster that focuses on how hyper-local content can spur civic engagement.

On March 10, FuSE (Future Social Experiences) Labs took the wraps off its latest initiative, known as HereHere NYC. The site allows more than 40 New York City neighborhoods to generate opinions based on New York's 311 non-emergency data stream. New York's 311 allows New Yorkers to voice concerns (and sometimes compliments) via phone, email or text messages. HereHere distills the information and generates cartoons and text that represent a "neighborhood's characterized … Read more

Skype rolls out to Outlook.com users worldwide

Users of Outlook.com around the world can now tap into Skype without having to leave their inbox.

Skype integration with Outlook.com is now available worldwide, according to a blog posted Tuesday by Skype marketing executive Karen Tong. The expanded rollout follows a limited release for users in the US, UK, Germany, and other countries last year.

To enable Skype integration with your Outlook.com account, first download and install the necessary plugin. After the installation completes, you're prompted to open your Outlook.com account.

In Outlook.com, click the Messaging icon on the upper right corner. If … Read more

Microsoft relaunches Office Web Apps as Office Online

The online version of Microsoft Office has a new name, along with some new features intended to streamline certain activities.

Why the name change? In a blog post on Wednesday, Office Online product marketing manager Amanda Lefebvre acknowledged that the name Office Web Apps confused users. Some apparently thought they had venture to an app store to find the software and then manually install it.

"No, to use them all you need is a web browser," Lefebvre said. "Ah! You say. So it's like Office, online. Yes, exactly. Office Online."

Beyond a new name, the … Read more

Microsoft to give 100GB free OneDrive storage to early birds

OneDrive users who sign in fast enough can score plenty of free storage for the next year.

Microsoft will dole out 100GB of extra space to the first 100,000 people who sign onto their OneDrive accounts once the new promotion gets off the ground sometime on Wednesday. The extra space comes on top of your existing OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) storage, but is good just for one year.

Angus Logan, the group product marketing manager for OneDrive, confirmed the promotion to CNET but didn't reveal a specific launch time. OneDrive users who want to vie for the free storage … Read more

Microsoft repairs Skype chat syncing glitch

Skype users frustrated by messages that won't sync from one device to another should welcome a new fix from Microsoft.

Touting the service's "enhanced chat experience" in a blog posted Thursday, Skype product marketing manager Elaine Ansell said that chats are now synced across all of your Skype-enabled devices. Push notifications will also alert you when you have a new message waiting for you.

Ansell acknowledged that the Skype syncing issue caused people to miss messages and to run into messages marked as "read" on one device and "unread" on another. In … Read more

Microsoft accused of censoring Chinese search results in US

Is Microsoft censoring searches of certain Chinese terms in the United States? One Web site is standing behind its original accusation.

Microsoft's Bing allegedly delivers different results for English-language searches than for those in Chinese, The Guardian said on Tuesday. Run searches on such politically sensitive topics as the Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, and Tiananmen Square on Bing's English-language site and its Chinese-language site, and the results vary, the report claimed. The Guardian said the discrepancies were first noted by Chinese monitoring site GreatFire.

In response to the initial charges of censorship from GreatFire, Microsoft attributed the problem to a system error, … Read more

Nadella: Our industry respects innovation, not tradition

He wears jeans with a T-shirt and suit coat. Sometimes he wears a hoodie like Mark Zuckerberg. He is a decade younger than his predecessor Steve Ballmer. He grew up in India, but has spent more than half his life in the US. He likes cricket and poetry. He has worked at Microsoft for 22 years, most recently as head of the company's $20 billion cloud and enterprise group. This is Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO.

As he settles into his new role, the question is what will Nadella do different from his predecessor to make Microsoft a … Read more

Microsoft ditches SkyDrive for OneDrive after BSkyB dispute

Microsoft's SkyDrive won't be around much longer -- at least, not by that name.

SkyDrive, the software company's cloud-based storage service, will soon be called OneDrive, Microsoft General Manager for Consumer Apps and Services Ryan Gavin announced Monday.

The move comes several months after a British court ruled that Microsoft's use of the SkyDrive name was infringing on a trademark owned by British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) Group's Sky trademark. Rather than continue to battle it out in court, Microsoft decided it was time to change the service's name.

Gavin acknowledged that the BSkyB dispute … Read more

Microsoft tops Q2 earnings expectations, still no new CEO

This may turn out to be the first earnings report where Microsoft's actual financial results are a sideshow to the main event.

Microsoft reported fiscal second-quarter results Thursday that were better than expected. The company had sales of $24.5 billion and 78 cents per share. Wall Street had expected revenue of $23.7 billion with a profit of 68 cents a share.

But the bigger news -- who will replace Steve Ballmer as the company's next chief executive? -- remains in the realm of a press release, at least for the foreseeable future. The company had nothing … Read more

Office Web Apps can now run commands for you

Microsoft has added a type of "your wish is my command" feature to its Office Web Apps.

Described in a Microsoft blog post Wednesday, the online version of Office now sports a "tell me what you want to do" field in the top toolbar. Want to run a certain command but don't know how or where to find it? Simply type the action in the field, and Office displays a list of possible commands.

For example, type the phrase "double space" in the field. Office responds with a line spacing menu from which … Read more