Anko hit the Store with an Awesome Excel Viewer!


[RED ALERT: I have just received warning from two sources in the comments that Anko is uploading your data to an external site for analysis. I do not condone this, therefore I will advice not to use this app until this has been cleared out. I will contact Anko for more information about their service and report back. In the meantime you may try the ComponentOne Viewer which is better anyway.]

[Update2: Ok Anko just placed themselves in the list of Bad Vendors. The App is NOT FREE as advertised. After two days or thereabout, you get a popup to recommend to your friends. If you say NO, you’re told App trial period has expired and App is closed. This is in violation of the Store policy and I have reported them. The App is not advertised as Trialware in the Store, therefore it cannot officially expire!]

Wow! Anko has just dropped a bomb in the Store! Just last week I was imploring a Dev to work further on his Excel Sheet viewer because it was too basic, you can only view basic information, no Cell titles, no expansion of columns, no support for graphs etc, etc. Well, Anko Software, known for their Windows Phone and Windows 8 Apps has just blown everyone away with this release of Excel+ App.

I wrote then that we are happy to see Devs attempting to Metrofy Office Apps. That anything to keep us away from the Desktop is a welcomed addition on our Mobile Devices. The Desktop is power drain on a tablet. The Apps that run there aren’t optimized for power-sipping. They are power hogs! By running purely in the Metro environment, you can be sure of extended Battery-life. Therefore if all I want is just to peek an Excel file, why do I have to drop to the desktop to open Excel if I can just open simple MX App that does this. So, Excel worksheets is just the beginning, we are gunning for an MX Word Viewer too, and why not throw in an MX Powerpoint Viewer too. All these will get us on-track till Microsoft is finished porting Office to the MX environment. So, Go Anko! Go Devs! Dazzle us with what you can achieve in the MX environment. Prove the MX detractors that they are wrong. That you can also be productive in the Metro environment.

Anko is generous to make this app free for now. They need coverage of course, so I guess they’ll be asking for the money down the line somewhere. So get this while you can. Here is an excerpt of the App from the Store:


Excel + is an application for reliably viewing and interacting with Excel documents across platforms and devices. Install the Excel + app to work with Excel documents on your Windows 8 or Windows RT.
• Quickly open Excel documents
• Search text to find specific information
• Multiple spreadsheets support
• Open local as well as online documents
• Rich graphics support
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application developed by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications. It has been a very widely applied spreadsheet for these platforms, especially since version 5 in 1993, and it has replaced Lotus 1-2-3 as the industry standard for spreadsheets. Excel forms part of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft Excel has the basic features of all spreadsheets, using a grid of cells arranged in numbered rows and letter-named columns to organize data manipulations like arithmetic operations. It has a battery of supplied functions to answer statistical, engineering and financial needs. In addition, it can display data as line graphs, histograms and charts, and with a very limited three-dimensional graphical display. It allows sectioning of data to view its dependencies on various factors for different perspectives (using pivot tables and the scenario manager).It has a programming aspect, Visual Basic for Applications, allowing the user to employ a wide variety of numerical methods, for example, for solving differential equations of mathematical physics, and then reporting the results back to the spreadsheet. It also has a variety of interactive features allowing user interfaces that can completely hide the spreadsheet from the user, so the spreadsheet presents itself as a so-called application, or decision support system (DSS), via a custom-designed user interface, for example, a stock analyzer, or in general, as a design tool that asks the user questions and provides answers and reports. In a more elaborate realization, an Excel application can automatically poll external databases and measuring instruments using an update schedule, analyze the results, make a Word report or Power Point slide show, and e-mail these presentations on a regular basis to a list of participants.
Microsoft allows for a number of optional command-line switches to control the manner in which Excel starts.





So, you’ve got a sizzling hot device, go get this sizzling hot piece of awesomeness. Download for free now via the Source link here below; while you can. :-)

Source: Windows Store

Place Sticky Notes on your Start Screen

Windows 8 features the Sticky Notes app from Windows 7, but it’s outdated and doesn’t integrate with Metro and the Live Tiles. No fear, as we have a solution for you in the Windows Store. Sticky Tiles lets you place quick stick notes of various colors on your start screen for a quick reminder. You can add as many colorful notes you want to your Start screen, with each tiles either large or small.


Post Notes, To Do Lists, Reminders etc. as Tiles on your Start Screen. Then, you can just glance at the tiles to get the information you care about in one place.Choose a size, Select a type, Pick a color, Jot down the data, Pin!
Rearrange, Resize, Group, Unpin the Sticky Tiles just like the other App Tiles on Start Screen.

Read less


  • 2 Tile sizes
  • 2 Tile types
  • 6 Tile colors

Download from Windows Store

Why Metro Apps on a Desktop or Laptop

If you have been following McAkins Online, you know that we are dedicated to bringing to you the latest from the Windows Store and are here to feature some great Metro Style (aka Windows Store) apps for you to check out. But the question remains is why should you care about Metro Style apps, especially if you are using traditional, non-touch, desktop or laptop? I want to take a quick break from featuring apps to talk about why you might sometimes want to use Metro Style apps instead of classic Windows Desktop apps even on traditional hardware. We believe that if you understand the advantages of using Metro Style apps over desktop apps for some occasions, the content of this site will be of even more value to you.

I want to discuss some of the advantages of using Metro Style apps over desktop versions of similar apps by covering some key areas. But before I get to that, I will quickly brush through the most controversial topics in regards to Metro Style apps. There is ongoing debate about Metro Style apps being fullscreen and optimized for touch make them unusable on desktops and laptops without touch and a productivity killer. This is a heated topic and one that needs more than a paragraph for discussing. I will hold of discussing this topic in depth for another time. All I will say is that some apps work great on the desktop, with mouse and keyboard, and others work better in Metro, like Netflix, games, and painting apps. Again, I will be talking more about this topic alone in the future. For now, putting the fullscreen issue aside, let’s talk about how Metro Style apps offer advantages in other areas that might make some more compelling than their desktop counterparts.

No System Degrading Over Time

One problem that has plagued Windows since beginning of time is that the system degrades over time. While the problem has gotten significantly better since Windows 9x, it still exists. Today, the biggest cause of the system degrading is the installing and/or uninstalling of many software over time. This happens because as you install desktop apps, these apps can make changes to the registry, add files to various places in the system, and add services (sometimes unnecessary ones) that take up system memory. Some apps have hidden startup files that slow down boot files. And we are only talking about the good apps. Because desktop apps are not curated, you might install a malicious app pretending to be good but one that significantly damages the system after being run. This problem still exists for desktop apps in Windows 8. Installing too many desktop apps can cause system performance to be reduced, performance that might not be regained even if you uninstall all of your desktop apps.

Metro Style apps do not suffer from this issue—at least not in a significant way, if at all. When you install a Metro Style app from the Windows Store, they are curated by Microsoft. Thus, you won’t likely be installing malware. Secondly, Metro Style apps won’t change the system registry, add startup files, change system files, or anything else that might damage the system. All this is because Metro Style apps acquired form the Windows Store don’t have the right to mess with system files. You can install as many Metro Style apps as you want without slowing down your PC.

Clean Uninstall (No Leftovers)

When you uninstall a desktop app, chances are that it is not completely wiped from the PC. Some files associated with your app still might remain on your drive. Registry items created by the app when installed and run don’t always get removed when uninstalled. Some desktop apps install additional apps and services that might continue to run in the background even if you uninstall the app. For example, if you install iTunes, you can opt in to install QuickTime player with it. However, if you uninstall iTunes, QuickTime remains installed. You have to manually go and run the QuickTime installer.

Metro Style apps uninstall cleanly. No traces are left when you uninstall these new apps. They won’t leave hidden files lurking in the system nor install additional apps or services. So, you can install and uninstall lots of Metro Style apps as many times as you like without degrading your system’s performance.

Security and Sandboxing

Windows desktop apps in Windows 8, like those in previous versions of Windows, are not Sandboxed. This means, desktop apps have access to other apps and system files. Though this is less of an issue with modern security measures in place in Windows, it’s still not as effective as true sandboxing.

Metro Style apps are sandboxed from one another. They can’t directly touch the system or other apps. They communicate with the system and other apps mainly through the Windows 8 contracts. If one app is misbehaving, it can be more easily contained if it is a Metro Style app. Also, I will say it again because it is so important: Metro Style apps are curated by Microsoft, so you will likely not get a malware on your PC if you download them.


The Windows desktop apps are Win32 apps that have been conceived in the early 90’s. They are dated, and it shows. There have been layers upon layers added to Win32 apps to make it play along with modern time. One such “layer” is terrible update mechanisms. Back in the 90’s, software updates through the internet wasn’t common; thus, Windows didn’t have a built-in mechanism to automatically update all Win32 apps from the internet. As we entered in to the modern era, each developer built its own updating system on top of their Win32 app. This meant that updating each app was a different experience and a cumbersome process. The Windows OS still doesn’t provide an integrated way to updated most modern Win32 apps.

Metro Style apps, on the other hand, was created for today’s era and with software updates in mind. The Windows OS handles updates for all Metro Style apps. They are seamless and painless. They don’t require downloading EXE files or running an app updater with admin privileges. The Windows Store makes the process easy and automatic.

Conclusion: Metro Style Apps Provide a Better User Experience

We looked at the many ways in which Metro Style apps are much better for you and your system in terms of performance, security, and seamless updating. The big point that should be taken from this is that you don’t have to be afraid to try lots and lots of Metro Style apps. Go ahead and give all of our featured apps in this site a try because your system won’t degrade in performance. If you don’t like an app, you can uninstall it easily. The same cannot be said for desktop apps. We don’t want to install and uninstall too many desktop apps for performance and security concerns.

The one tip I would give when deciding whether to get a Metro Style or a desktop app is to ask yourself if you really need this app for regularly. If so, you will likely be keeping this app and you trust the app. So install the desktop version if you like. Good examples of this are Office, Photoshop, Adobe Reader, Visual Studio, After Effects, etc. However, if you would like to try an app or want to use an app less often, you will likely want to use a Metro Style app. Examples of these types of apps can include bandwidth measuring apps, format converters, web video downloaders, etc. Installing too many desktop apps that you won’t use regularly is not worth the performance downgrade. Also, if you are likely to uninstall an app or are concerned about malware, definitely download a Metro Style app from the Windows Store.

Well, I hope this can give you some insight on how some apps and utilities might be better suitable for you as a Metro Style app than a desktop app. With that, I conclude this article. We have some more great Windows Store apps we would like to show you; so stay tuned on McAkins online for updates. Some apps that are not blogged about on this site immediately are mentioned on the McAkins Online twitter account. So be sure to follow @McAkins. You can also follow me on twitter @NazmusLabs.

Have a great day and keep surfing!

Valve, If You Don’t Integrate Steam with Metro, Someone Else Will…And They Have!

Valve and its founder Gabe Newell doesn’t really like Windows 8 and its “metro” environment. As such, we didn’t expect Valve to integrate its flagship product, Steam, with Windows 8. Well, good news because an elegant solution arrived sooner than we would have thought. The community stepped up and created a Windows Store app that integrates your steam games with metro! Now, you can have a more seamless experience with Steam and Windows 8 despite Valve’s opinions.

The app that’s behind it all is called Pin Steam. It has two main functions; the first is that it is a metro version of your Steam games library. Now, rather than having to go to the desktop and launch Steam, you can open this app and view all your Steam games in a clean, metro style, app. The second function of the app is its highlight. It lets you pin your Steam games to the Start Screen as a tile!

Because Steam games are desktop apps, pinning it manually through the OS only shows you a small icon on the Start Screen. However, if you pin it with Pin Steam, you get a big tile that displays the Game’s cover art. It makes your game collection prettier on your Start Screen. Now, you can launch Steam games directly from Start in an elegant way!

Pin Steam Configuration
When you run this app for the first time, you will be asked to type in your Steam ID. If you need help, the app will help locate it for you. This ID is required to access your Steam games library.
Steam Profile
If you need help locating your Steam ID, the app will launch your Steam profile and will tell you where to look to find your ID.
Sto Pic 2
The app displays your Steam games library in a clean, metro style, environment. Just click a game to play it. Right click it if you want to pin it to your Start Screen
Store Pic 3
You can customize the tile, if you wish, that will be pinned to the Start Screen.

The app is $1.49; however, you can download a trial version that lets you use the app as a metro style Steam games library. To be able to pin apps to the Start Screen, you will need to buy the full version. Also note that you need to have the official Steam desktop app installed for this to work.

A note to Valve: if you think Windows 8 will be a catastrophe, think again. Windows is too big to be a failure. Thinking that users and developers will ignore Windows 8, like they did with Windows Phone 7, is wishful thinking. If you don’t step up your game and play nicely with Windows 8, someone else will. Let’s just hope that someone isn’t a competitor.

Download from Windows Store: Pin Steam

Windows 8 Introductory Tutorial

New to Windows 8? Check out this video tutorial I made to help you get started with Windows 8. The video is meant to help you get started, but to truly get used to the new OS, you need to have hands-on time with it. Windows 8 is all about muscle memory. Continue reading

Total App Count – 2012-10-27


[Data per  2012-10-27]

Current Total App Count in Windows 8 RTM Store = 5738

App Stats:

App Class:
Total Paid Apps: 1104
Total Free Apps: 4634
Total Desktop Apps: 122

Total English Apps: 4795
Total Localized Apps: 943

Accessible Apps: 1383
Non-Accessible Apps: 4355

Store News:

Here we are, it’s the Day After! Day after General Availability of Windows 8, and the availability of Microsoft’s Surface RT Device. What an awesome 3 days it has been and the excitement around the whole happening was felt all over the world. I tweeted somewhere this week, its like Christmas, with all the warm happy feeling all over the place. If you want a low-down on the coverage of the GA event, please listen to Richard Hays,  my buddy’s podcast Observed Tech PODCAST Episode 67 or the Compromised and Confused Product Show where he gave the blow-by-blow account of the whole event.

Well, this post is about the Windows Store and its Apps, and boy what a week we’ve had! App started dropping as early as Monday, became a stream on Tuesday, became a river on Wednesday with the Tsunami on Thursday 25th. The most important quality apps dropped on Early on Thursday, with Angry Birds Space dropping after the keynotes late on Thursday. Some people were not happy that Microsoft did not discuss apps on the Keynotes, I think I understand why. When you are dealing with important Partners, you cannot to single out one or two without jeopardizing your relations with the others. You either mention them all or not, and given the limited time you have for the keynotes, you just can’t demo just a few ones and leave the rest.

Anyway, back unto our post. How many quality apps dropped this week, haha, don’t even tempt me. I will just point you to the list here below as I can’t possibly mention individual apps in detail. But standing out of this list are the popular Newspaper apps like WSJ, NYT and Fox News Apps. And Angry Bird Space of course. But Disney also debuted this week in the Store with a dedicated app for Girls; Princess Dress-Up.  Also,  Microsoft debuted and updated some apps. For example, Skype App made a grand entry this week, as well as Lync Metro Client. A few XBox Titles also released this week as you can see.  OneNote also dropped the MX predicate and became a full Metro App. No more preview thus. Of course outside of the Store but worthy of mention is the Office 2013 package for Windows 8 that has gone from Preview to Released status. If you have MSDN or TechNet account, please go ahead and download it for your Windows 8 device.

Corel, Adobe and Cyberlink are owning the Store right now with the 3 outdoing each other in who releases the highest number of Apps this week. They are bombarding the store with both Metro and Desktop apps. Just search for their names in the Store and see for yourselves. But the company that MS should thank for the current total number of apps in the Store is  Wagmob. A company that produces Educational pieces. You’ll see a lot of this company’s apps in the Store. Thanks to companies like Wagmob, Education category even beats the Game category this week. The Store itself has been polished by Microsoft, and the bitmaps of the leading apps are now used to to present categories. The Top Free and Most Rated buttons are now working as expected. But the general issues that plague the Store still remain. With the noise of people like me, lets hope MS will eventually listen.

I said its going to be a crazy week, well you can see the result of this week in the Stats. We had a total delta of 1446 this week, almost 1500 apps added to the Store in one week! Talking of a big bang. There is definitely something in the store now for everyone. There are still some apps we missed, like the IMDB and official Twitter and Facebook Apps, question is when these apps are going to drop in the Store. One thing is sure, every self-respecting business is now on Windows 8, even Google is in the Store now.

So, here are the remarkable apps this week. The following are the ones I blogged already, while the rest without links are apps worthy of your attention too:


Not Blogged but worthy of attention (Please search the names):

·         BrainControl at $1000

·         Relay Methods at $500

·         Skype

·         Epicurious

·         Google Search

·         Teamviewer Touch

·         London Bus Checker

·         Corel’s Roxio Mediabook Plus for OEMs (Fujitsu, Lenovo & HP)

·         Intel AppUp (for diff Markets)

·         Parts of a Computer

·         Learn C Programming

·         Skyrim Herbarium

·         Ludo.NET

·         Solitaire HD

·         Flowers Tutor

·         Spectral Souls (ENG)

·         persona/

·         IM+

·         Tweet Talk

·         Trello

·         FlightRadar24

There you have it. Lots and lots of apps for one week. There are lots of chaffs but there are lots of quality apps too. I am sure you will find something for yourself in the Store. Of course I only mention the most remarkable and quality apps on this blog. So if you think I missed anything, please let me know. On a closing note, if you’ve purchased Surface or any of Windows 8 devices this week, please make sure you obtained and install all the latest updates before use as there were lots of updates after Windows 8 went RTM. The same goes for Office 2013, please download the latest version as the RTM version had issues. And if you have any problem, reach us Windows 8 community on Twitter via the hashtag #Win8, you will definitely find help.

Enjoy your week ahead, and if you’ve bought a shiny toy on Friday, most especially Smile. See you next weekend.

[Noticed anything out of place? Wrong URL? Hit me on Twitter (@McAkins) to let me know. Thanks already.]

– McAkins


 Source: Windows Store

All data and Information provided in this report is provided AS-IS! It does not warrant any commitment neither from me nor from Microsoft. The data is tallied from the information Microsoft made visible to the outside world, and is subject to change at any time. Applications are constantly being submitted and pulled from Store, and also subject to Store Cloud propagation, which means the data you see here may not be current at any time, and possibly different from your part of the world. Errors in this report are mine  and not Microsoft’s and does not constitute any binding agreement.


GoogleTube? Has Google Googlified YouTube?

It seems that Google has completely ruined…ahm, redesigned, YouTube. The black Google bar is now throughout YouTube. YouTube video search looks like Google search, and there is an overall redesign of YouTube as a whole. In fact, Google may even be taking cues from Microsoft, as the new UI of YouTube sports flat and clean design, you know kind of like the thing called Metro? Continue reading

How to See the Amount of Space your Windows 8 Apps Take up?

Searching for app sizes
You can find it by searching for relevant terms

The final RTM (released to manufacturing) version of Windows 8 is very similar to the Windows 8 Release Preview that was launched to the public at the end of May. However, there are some new features in the RTM version of Windows 8 that is not in the Release Preview. Today, I want to talk about a new neat little handy feature that is included in the RTM version of Windows 8. It is a new addition to the Metro Style control panel in Windows 8 that will let you see how much space is left on your hard drive AND how much each metro style app is occupying in your hard drive. I am sure many of you will find this feature a very welcoming one, as in the past, it was quite hard to see how much disk space these apps were using without actually examining the app directories manually. Continue reading

All About Money Finance App hit the Store


The First Personal Finance App hits the Store! All About the Money is a Personal Finance app to keep track of your Expenses on the Go. The App is one of the first apps to showcase the power of Microsoft Metro. View your expenses in glorious panoramic views. Know where your money is coming from and where they are going. Like SilverOak said, “Its all about your money”, and in this austere times, you need something like this to keep yourself in check.

Easily categorize your expenses for later presentation in views. You can view your expenses by time too; all you gave out this week, this month and this year for example. And to cap it all up, SilverOak threw in a few Demos to get you quickly started and reduce your learning curve. The app comes in at 1.27Mb size, for a non-game Metro App, that tells you the app is packed with features! The following is the vendors descriptions from the Store:

Transaction details grouped by time-period

Income summary by time-period

Transaction details screen (Expenses)
Transaction details grouped by time-period

Manage your money:
– track expenses, income and savings
– analyze spending by category
– review trends
See where your money comes from and where it goes.
It’s all about money!

Transaction summary dashboard
Add / update / manage / search transactions
Import / Export transactions
Spending by category

We are beginning to see serious apps from developers in the Windows Store, and this might be one of the most practical of them all. I truly hope you’ll appreciate the vendor’s effort. Go download the app via the following link:

Source: Windows Store

[Note: There are more and more apps hitting the Store at the moment, it is humanly impossible to blog them all, I only mention exceptional apps in this Blog. For my daily and regular news of new Apps in the Store, follow my Twitter Stream: @McAkins]

Dissecting the Microsoft Graffiti Surface Ads


Microsoft started its ads carpet-bombing yesterday by releasing a slew of covert graffiti Ads for its Surface devices. One of the Ads is shown above (borrowed from The Verge), and immediately I saw it a few things jumps to mind, and I have searched the Net and discovered almost everybody missed the subtle messages hidden in this picture above.

First let me start on the background. Why did Microsoft choose an old and dilapidated building to paint this Graffiti, they could have chosen a bridge or a nicer background, right? The house is standing next to a White-washed building. All this denotes the Old Windows Infrastructure, old and beaten of course. This Old building is Surfacing something new (pun intended). The white-washed building is the walled garden called Apple platform competing with this old platform.

Now, see those four lamps above the Graffiti? Five of them are burning (One is behind the board) and one is not burning. That denotes the release cycles of Windows 8, the fifth lamp is not burning because Windows/Surface is almost done. All the lamps burning will signify in this case that Windows and Surface fully ready.

Now comes my favorite part, the Stop signpost and the bikes. Anyone remembers what Steve Jobs called Windows when comparing it with the Mac? He called Windows a Truck, that trucks are dependable utility vehicles to get the job done, and Macs are Sports cars that you love to ride in the weekends or when you are feeling sexy, etc etc. Now, read what is on the signpost: “Truck Restriction” it says! Is this a coincidence? I think not.

The sign is saying Truck restriction here, this is a play-ground for the young and hip, denoted by those bikes. Look at that shiny Vespa posing for you right there like a model on a sidewalk. All these denotes hip youngsters. This Ad is telling you, “Windows is truck-no-more“, it is the playground of hipsters. That is what we are getting with Windows 8 and Surface. Sorry old people, Elvis has left the building! Microsoft cannot build its future on old dilapidated OS, it needs the new generation on-board, that is the future. You either take it or leave it. That is the strong message Microsoft has been sending out with Windows 8, the bold move to remove anything recognizable in Windows is a telling sign. You either come on-board and embrace the future, or be left behind in the dust of history.


I love this new bold Microsoft. The time of mediocrity is past, the time of a new future is here. Welcome new Microsoft, hello Sexy!

Image Credit: The Verge

Why Microsoft Refuses to Name the Windows 8 User Interface

According to Microsoft, Windows 8 is “a bold reimagining of Windows, from the chipset to the user experience.” This reimagining, then, brings a completely new user interface to Windows 8, an UI that is a  complete departure from any previous versions of Windows. And since the first unveiling of Windows 8 and throughout its public preview releases, this new UI has been referred to, by the community, as the Metro UI because it follows the Microsoft’s design language that was known as the Metro design language. Microsoft itself referred to apps running on the reimagined Windows 8 platform (WinRT) as Metro Style apps. Why, then, isn’t the term “Metro” ever referred to in the operating system itself? More importantly, why does Microsoft officially refuse to name the new, reimagined, user interface? Continue reading

Visual Studio Express 2012 RC Desktop App is in the Store

Well, we knew it was a question of time, now it has happened. Microsoft is promoting Visual Studio Express 2012 as general hobbyists platform to develop Metro and Desktop Apps, and where is the best place to do that? Of course in its own Windows 8 Store. The store guarantees easy visibility and accessibility, therefore Microsoft is wasting no time showcasing its developer platform.

If you’ve been lazy downloading the app because you don’t want to go search for it, now you don’t have any excuse anymore. So go download the app and start churning out those Killer Metro Apps, maybe you’ll be the next kid on the block.

Find Visual Studio Express 2012 in the Tools category in the Store, and follow the link therein to download the App for your Desktop.

Windows 8’s Official Name Announced, Along with the Editions

Windows 8 Start Screen
Big news for anyone curious about Windows 8, Microsoft today announced what the official name for Windows 8 is going to be! Ready for it? Well, there will be 2 names for the next version of Windows, actually. One will be the Windows 8 while the other will be Windows RT. Let’s explore the differences between these two line of Windows.
Continue reading

A New, Metro Style, Bing Is on Its Way!

Bing is slowly rolling out its new version to certain users. I have been “chosen” as one of the users to get a new update. But the interesting this is that I seemed to have received two different updates of bing in my two separate PCs. On the first PC, the update brings about new animations to the search engine. In addition to the animated wallpaper in the bing homepage, this new update gives smooth transition when you enter in a search query or switch from one type of search to another (for example web to images). Now, I cannot take a picture of the animation update, but I can show you the new update I got in my other PC.

My second PC received an UI update. The new update reduces color and has a “metro” feel to it. This UI seems to be part of Microsoft’s attempt to make the UI across its products consistent. Windows 8, Windows Phone, and the Xbox dashboard all feature the metro style UI. Take a look at the screenshot below; click it to enlarge.

Ne bing with Metro Style UI

Old Bing
This is the old (current) bing


As we can see, the new bing takes the attention off itself, as per the metro UI principles. The space is mostly white, and the content shine. You may also notice that some search results are social driven, showing what my friends like on Facebook. Of course, I can always disconnect Facebook from bing if I don’t like social integration with search.

Connecting and disconnecting bing and facebookThere are, however, some UI headaches that I face with this new user interface. For example, on the old bing UI, it was easy to get to other types of search such as News. With the new bing UI, these other types do not always appear on the top. Perhaps they do not appear if they don’t have any content for that type; I am not sure. But it bothers me because it is difficult to deal with UI that isn’t consistent in every search. One would expect the top to always have the same links for easy access, but with the new UI, this is dynamic, and can be unpredictable.

For me, I only get the new UI for web search. If I do an image search or a new search, I am returned to the old bing. So, it is still under development; so, thing can very well be tweaked. I am curious to know if any of you reading this have gotten this new bing. Better yet, did you get another bing update that I didn’t get? Share your comments; I look forward to them. :)

Windows 8: Screenshots for a Glimpse of What’s to Come

Windows Logo

Windows 8 is the buzz word for 2012. New PCs, slates, and convertibles shown at this year’s CES were designed with Windows 8 in mind. Windows 8 will arrive in market later this year, but Microsoft already released a developer preview version of it’s operating system in the fall of last year. A new beta release of Windows 8 will arrive this month, yes February, named as Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

If you are curious as to what Windows 8 and its new metro style apps looks like, take a look at these following screenshots. These pictures are from the developer preview I am running on my PC. Once the Consumer Preview arrives, I will updated you with more screenshots. Until then, enjoy!