Microsoft's new apps add search tools to Excel and Word for Office 2013 and Office 365 users. Will this move help Bing's growth path?
8 Key Changes In Microsoft SharePoint 2013
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft last week announced the availability of five new Bing apps for its Office 2013 and Office 365 products. The apps' January 31 arrival came on the heels of the refreshed Office products themselves, which were released on January 29 as both traditional standalone purchases and a subscription-based service.
It remains to be seen how customers will take to the new model, in which users pay perpetual fees in exchange for enhanced cloud functionality, greater license flexibility and access to the latest releases. Any apprehensions about subscription costs, though, won't carry over to the new Bing products, as Microsoft has offered them for free. The apps are intended to inject search functionality into Word and Excel document-creating. They join similar Bing tools already available for Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox.
Bing Maps for Office allows Excel users to plot location data onto live, interactive Bing maps. It includes data visualization options, such as translating various column values into different-sized shapes on the map. Users can use either a mouse or touch-based gestures to manipulate the map's view, which can be pinched in to the street level or zoomed out to a bird's eye perspective.
Bing Finance for Office is a beta product that allows users to create finance portfolio tables in Excel. Stock symbols can be input and fields can be customized to display a wide range of content, including live price updates.
Bing News Search for Office lets users search for news and videos from within Word documents. Results can be inserted into the document with a single click and favorite searches can be saved for later use.
Bing Dictionary for Office ensures that Word's spell-check tools include the latest spellings and definitions. If a user doesn't know how to spell a word, he or she can type phonetically and Bing will offer suggestions. The app currently supports only English-language words.
The last of the five new offerings, Bing Image Search for Office allows users to launch a Web search from within Word by typing into a search box or by selecting text within the document. The app can also insert search returns into the document with a single click.
According to Microsoft's most recent quarterly earnings, the company's Online Services Division, which is responsible for Bing, posted a mixed performance, increasing its revenue but remaining unprofitable overall. The new Bing apps won't change this picture on their own, but they offer synergies that could help Microsoft's search engine gain market share. Though some users have turned to alternatives such as GoogleDocs and OpenOffice, the Office suite is still among the business world's most ubiquitous and essential tools. If the new apps socialize users to rely on Bing, Microsoft could see incremental gains. According to the most recent numbers from data analytics firm comScore, Bing has achieved positive growth of late but remains a distant second to Google.
Attend Interop Las Vegas May 6-10, and attend the most thorough training on Apple deployment at the NEW Mac & iOS IT Conference. Join us in Las Vegas for access to 125+ workshops and conference classes, 350+ exhibiting companies, and the latest technology. Use Priority Code DIPR02 by Feb. 9 to save up to $500 off the price of Conference Passes. Register for Interop today!
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
IT Strategies to Conquer the CloudChances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.