Posts tagged Microsoft
As we reported during the last week about Bing’s video feature providing easy access to porn content and the concern it was causing for parents and employeers, well Microsoft has made a move in relation to that issue.
Microsoft apparently has blocked access to pornography sites and material in Islamic countries mostly. The predicted list of Islamic countries where porn search is blocked includes:
Besides the Islamic countries the list also include countries such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Thailand. Even India is part of that list, which has created quite a buzz on the local Indian blogs. Microsoft spokesman informed an Indian site:
We determined the list of countries for which sexually explicit results are restricted based on analysis of where such are restricted by local law, but we did not take these actions in response to specific government demands or regulations.
The video feature is working for English speaking Americans, Canadians and Australians. The scenario is quite different when it comes to rest of the world. Users of most countries get to see raunchy images but not videos. Then there happens to be a dozen or more countries where searching for sex or porn reveals nothing even weblinks.
Surprisingly Germany is in the banned list as well for reasons yet to be clear. The British, French, Japanese, and Russians do have the access to the adult videos, but the search results are displayed in such a manner that nasty stuff is pushed down the page with safer clips appearing at the top of the resutls page.
Latin America, Newzealand, outh Africa and Rest of Europe do get access to hardcore images but they have no access to Video content whatsoever. Same is the case with Spanish speaking Americans and French speaking canadians.
As happens in these cases, there is always someone who succeeds in finding out a workaround limitations of these sorts. This time Indians have found that changing your residence to Australia, Canada(English) or United States (English) will provide them access to the full Bing with no restrictions on the adult content.
StatCounter Global Stats, which performs the task of analyzing Web site traffic released a report just a couple of days ago. According to this report, Bing has made tremendous ground and has managed to grab some market share from long time rivals Google.
StatCounter conducted an activity of analyzing search engine use on Thursday and found some interesting results. As always Google continues to dominate the US search engine market with a 71.47% share, Bing managed to grab 16.28% of the market whereas Yahoo was able to acquire only 10.22% thus getting the 3rd spot. Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter raised a question that whether it is just the initial success or will Bing build on it. He said:
It remains to be seen if Bing falls away after the initial novelty and promotion but at first sight it looks like Microsoft is on to a winner. Steve Ballmer is quoted as saying that he wanted Microsoft to become the second biggest search engine within five years. Following the breakdown in talks to acquire Yahoo at a cost of $40 billion, it looks as if he may have just achieved that with Bing much sooner and a lot cheaper than anticipated.
In the global market, Statcounter reports that Bing is making some progress. In the global market, Google is still the leader and has 87.62% of market share. However good news is that Bing gains the second spot by having 5.62% of the market share. With this market share, Bing managed to go past Yahoo which has 5.13% market share.
There is one thing however that is bothering me a little bit. Isn’t it a bit early to call Bing gaining the second spot and claiming that based on the statistics collected by just one source. What do you think?
About a month ago I wrote about the leaked Box shots of Windows 7. Now I just read that Microsoft officially confirms the Windows 7 Boxart.
It was not entirely clear at the time whether the leaked images were concepts in iteration or the final design. Now, to end the speculation once and for all, the boxart has been officially confirmed by no other than the Microsoft Store listing for Windows 7.
It appears the final physical design, color schemes and imagery are also identical to the leaked images. If you haven’t seen already, CentrumXP.pl has high-resolution copies of these images providing a closer look at the finer details decorating the Windows flag, including but not limited to a butterfly and lens flares (not necessarily bad, just, rare).
Now that the full version boxart has been confirmed, there is a high probability the leaked upgrade edition boxart is also real deal, which would actually surprise me due to its unorthodox approach.
It is reported that Widows 7 prices have been leaked. The memo is legitimate and accurate, Best Buy will allow customers to preorder Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99 and Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for $99.99 bye the end of June.
It seems that these prices are recommended retail prices, and not a special Best Buy discount offer, then what it could mean is Microsoft will be taking quite an aggressive Windows 7 pricing strategy. The original retail price of Vista Home Premium Upgrade was $129.95 and Vista Business Upgrade (nearest equivalent of Professional) was $199.95, ~60% and 50% cheaper respectively.
Even if this was a Best Buy promotional offer, Microsoft cant bear a loss on each sale so retail prices should still be cheaper than Vista.
If we take these comparisons between upgrade versions and impose them onto full editions, then Windows 7 Home Premium could cost ~$99.99 (Vista $269.99), and Windows 7 Professional $149 (Vista $299). If these predictions are true, then Windows 7 could be quite the offer. If not, then you know where to order from to get the best deals on 7.
Similar if not exactly the same deal was also offered for the introduction of Windows Vista which could indicate this be an time-limited offer and will not reflect the retail price of Windows 7.
Very recently Microsoft launched it new search engine called Bing. People and community is very happy about the release.
Fox news criticized about the about Bing, claiming that it provides “a cornucopia of pornography” and that it is easy to transform “the search engine into [your] very own pornographic Web site.”
But there are certain issues discussed about this video clip preview feature. Built into the search engine to give it the edge over its competitors, the feature allows users to search for videos, and by getting the cursor over the video to get a small preview of what the user can expect to see.
This has upset a lot of network administrators who want to block sexual content from being watched in the work place.
In order to fulfill their requirements Bing has been updated with more restrictions options that disable video previews, but as a temporary fix, Microsoft has released a string of code for administrators to enforce the strictest search settings.
A finalized update will be released shortly as Microsoft tackles the issue, but as for now the end user will not be able to search key words related to sexual content such as “porn”, prompting the user with the warning “The search [porn] may return explicit adult content. To view these videos, turn off safe search.”
Uptil now Bing, the latest search engine by Microsoft has been liked by many including me. The Bing includes a sleeky and streamlined interface, yields powerful and productive search results and also a very cool Video feature. However there is some problem associated with this cool Video feature. However I would like to make it very clear that it is not related to the problems associated with the video functionality. The Video feature is somehow providing easy access to pornographic and inappropriate videos and sites. This might alarm the parents for reasons well understood by everyone. Even employeers would be alarmed by this.
Although this video feature makes it possible for the user to see a thumbnail of the video without having to leave the search site. The same feature is making access to inappropriate content quite easy as well. With Bing, one can easily search for porn related sites and the results will shows the sites alongwith the associated thumbnail videos. When a user hovers the mouse over that thumbnail, the thumbnails play for a few seconds (around 30 seconds).
This feature is enabling the viewers specially children to view porn videos without having to visit the porn site. To add to the problem, this feature makes it all the more difficult for the parents to control viewage of pornography since the users never shift out of the search engine.
There is no denying that this video feature is attractive but the highlighted problem is creating definite problems and represents quite a significant difference between Bing and other search engines. Bob Kessinger, who happens to be the vice president of security company CyberPatrol.
You’re presumably on a search site. You could be presented with 20 or 30 thumbnail images that the video plays right into the browser. Employees or kids could be accessing that content without ever going to the host URL.It really presents a problem when you have inappropriate material.
There is Bing’s Age verification tool but it is not effective,it seems to be helpless in blocking underage users to access inappropriate sites and content. It is very easy to bypass this age verification test. Kessinger added:
That doesn’t work in a work setting either. Everybody presumably is over 18. You still don’t want your employees to go there.
Here you have it, Microsoft has a pressing issue in its hand, and the IT giant must be quick to respond to this issue and resolve it. Let us hope that Microsoft is listening.
Yes, it is sad but it is true. What we gather is that China has blocked access to Microsoft‘s search engine Bing and Hotmail for reasons not clear yet. This step is taken with the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown just around the corner. Kevin Kutz, Microsoft’s director of public affairs said:
Microsoft’s Bing.com, Live.com and Hotmail.com are among several Internet services that have been blocked for customers in China.
Kutz said that they are in contact with the Chinese government in order to discuss this issue. His words were:
We are reaching out to the government to understand this decision and find a way to move forward.
He went on to add:
Microsoft is committed to helping advance the free flow of information, and is committed to encouraging transparency, due process and rule of law when it comes to Internet governance.
Microsoft did not provide the exact time as to when the unfortunate event of sites blockage took place in China. However Reporters Without Borders stated that according to the information provided by the Chinese users, this process began on Tuesday. The report stated:
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the blockage of a dozen websites such as Twitter, YouTube, Bing, Flickr, Opera, Live, WordPress and Blogger in China
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) informs that it had received around three reports of authorities blocking reporting at Tiananmen Square and intimidating journalists or their sources.
It is hoped that this matter is resolved very soon, because the blockage of sites like these is sure to disturb a lot of people. Let us hope the best decision is taken in this regard
But now a good news for the Windows 7 lovers, release date is announced, Microsoft just confirmed the release date on Tuesday that it is planning for Windows 7 to start showing up on new PCs on October 22 this year.
Microsoft is planning to finish development of the operating system by the middle or end of next month, Senior Vice President Bill Veghte said in an interview.
The feedback from the release candidate has been good,
Phil McKinney, the CTO of Hewlett-Packard’s computer unit, said that he feels good about Microsoft’s launch date, he said:
We’re locked and loaded for the launch,” McKinney said. “The quality of code is just absolutely stellar.
Microsoft plans to offer some sort of “technology guarantee” giving those who buy Vista machines close to the Windows 7 launch a free. As with past similar programs, details on pricing will be up to individual computer makers, although Microsoft did say the upgrade program will apply to Vista Home Premium and higher-priced editions.
The tech guarantee program will not begin immediately, but Microsoft did raise the possibility it will offer some sort of lower-cost upgrade to those who are already using Windows Vista.
Veghte further said:
Depending on when we do it there will be the associated accounting for it,
Microsoft yesterday made an official announcement that is surely going to make a lot of readers happy. The announcement is that Xbox 360 is going to integrate with the ever popular social network Facebook, the microblogging network Twitter and the online music catalog Last.fm.
What this means is that with your Xbox 360, now you can share, chat and interact with your friends all around the globe, update your status in real-time, check out photos on the big wide screen using Facebook. All this can be done, while you sit in your living room on your couch. Think that is all you are going to get from Facebook Connect. Well think again, using Facebook you can share all of your favorite and preferred gaming moments with your friends. To add to that, you now even have the option to send invites to your Facebook friends to direclty play games on their console.
Xbox 360 -Twitter integration means that Twitter users can post their twitter updates directly from Xbox as well as read their friends updates and postings. Xbox live gold subscribers now have the option to listen to streaming music from their favorite gaming console through Last.fm.
John Schappert, corporate vice president of Interactive Entertainment LIVE, Software and Studios at Microsoft, said:
We are always asking ourselves how to make the TV more social,”By bringing Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm to Xbox 360, we’re not only extending the walls of your living room beyond your home to your friends all over the world, we’re creating the definitive social network, uniting more than 300 million people to share thoughts on music, play games and tweet.
What all this integration marks is that now you will be connected to your family members and friends all the time. You will have the opportunity to share your updates, status and favorite gaming moments with your loved ones as well. An amazing step taken by Microsoft. What do you think. Please share your thoughts and comments with us.