10 Cool Microsoft Garage Projects You Didn't Know About - InformationWeek

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1/29/2016
07:06 AM
Kelly Sheridan
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10 Cool Microsoft Garage Projects You Didn't Know About

The Garage is a hub for employees across Microsoft to work on different projects. Here are some of its works-in-progress.
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(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft has built a news app to directly compete with services like Apple News, Google News, and Flipboard. News Pro, built for iOS but also available on desktop, was released on Jan. 27. News Pro comes from Microsoft Garage, an internal organization intended to give employees across the company an outlet to share and build ideas.

Projects start out as small-scale, but those with potential can grow to have larger influence and, as with News Pro, a commercial release. News Pro tries to separate from the pack by marketing itself as a business-focused service. It's intended to help you "search for news related to your business and everyday work," according to the Microsoft Garage homepage.

Its angle isn't surprising given Microsoft's broad enterprise audience, but you can use News Pro to find articles on more than a million topics. It functions similarly to its rivals. You choose areas of interest and the app sources articles to match.

[ Also from the Garage: the evil Mimicker Alarm, powered by AI ]

The user interface is straightforward. Users sign in via LinkedIn or Facebook, foregoing the name, email, and address entry common with registration for online services. Not a huge deal, of course, but appreciated.

From there, you can browse recommended articles under "Home" or click "Explore" to select topics of interest. The app lets you select specific businesses, organizations, skills, and products to follow. Click the check mark to add a topic to your personalized feed; click its box to view a list of relevant articles.

Aside from News Pro, there are a few other cool ideas percolating in the Microsoft Garage we haven't given much attention. Here, we take a closer look at projects currently on the workbench, where users can try the works-in-progress and share feedback.

Do you see any ideas with potential in this batch? Any duds? Which would you use? We'd like to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
1/31/2016 | 6:16:30 AM
Re: Arrow
Yeah, agreed. Arrow lasted for about 10 minutes on my phone before getting the hook LOL. A launcher is a super personal and invasive app for a phone though. I have a pretty short tolerance for one that shows the slightest bit of weakness.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
1/31/2016 | 6:14:54 AM
Re: Cool stuff
Exactly - there is a reason that the schools don't want my teenager taking notes on his phone during class. It's the same reason peers shouldn't be using their phones during meetings (or whatever) in the workplace.

I actually had a CEO once who was notorious for sitting there on his phone during meetings, and I know this guy wasn't carrying on the busy work of being a CEO on it. It was super annoying. He got fired.
liverdonor
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liverdonor,
User Rank: Strategist
1/31/2016 | 12:58:46 AM
Re: Here's what I learned from this article.
Yeah, it's a sad and pathetic end to a platform that had huge potential.

Didja see the 950 phones? Reasonable, upper-mid-grade phone that's priced like it thinks it's an iPhone 7. ;-)

 
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2016 | 10:24:13 PM
Findtime
Find time seems to be a really nice app for the working man and especially the woman who is a new mother. I think this needs to be used worldwide.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2016 | 10:24:12 PM
Findtime
Find time seems to be a really nice app for the working man and especially the woman who is a new mother. I think this needs to be used worldwide.
SachinEE
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50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2016 | 10:22:21 PM
Re: Arrow
Arrow is a laggy launcher. And it had a learning curve. You want to see an interesting launcher? Try the Z Launcher from Nokia LLC. That is just an unique experience.
SachinEE
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50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2016 | 10:14:18 PM
Re: Cool stuff
@Tzubair: Digital assistants would become so prevalent in the future that they would do the note taking for you in meetings. I can just tell S voice to "take down whatever is being said" and she will take it down, categorize it and set a reminder for every task.
SachinEE
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50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2016 | 10:12:30 PM
Re: Here's what I learned from this article.
Indeed they have given up on the Windows Phone. The app store is even more terrible nowadays. I use my Lumia 950 as a paperweight. I used to use it primarily because of its camera but I don't know why it cannot match up to any of the older Lumias when they were still with Nokia.
SachinEE
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50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2016 | 10:09:41 PM
Re: Cool stuff
@progman2000: That is correct and it gets on my nerves when people start note taking on their smartphone. Maybe they should forget technology and start using the old methods. Nowadays the newbies roam around with an iPad, creating a mobile workstation for work that doesn't require processing power. It looks so funny and irritating as well.
progman2000
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50%
progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2016 | 3:30:14 PM
Re: Cool stuff
I don't know, I have never particularly thought that electronic note taking apps were great for meetings, and frankly I don't like to encourage people to have their phones in their hands during meetings. Far too much of a distraction, I prefer pen and paper for note taking.
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