Microsoft is pushing out updates to six of the Windows 8/Windows RT applications built by the Bing AppEx team, company officials announced on April 15.
Five of these app updates -- Finance, News, Maps, Sports and Travel -- are available today in the Windows Store. The Weather app updates will be "shipping over the course of the coming weeks," according to company officials.
The updates for all of these apps are focused around customization and personalization. Among the capabilities in the updates:
Finance: Now includes an updated watch-list, real-time US stock updates and customizable interactive charts.
News: Adds the ability to keep tabs on specific story categories, topics, or news sources. Also adds support for RSS feeds and offline reading.
Maps: Now supports improved driving, transit and walking directions, as well as traffic incidents notifications including construction and accidents. Common places can be saved as favorites or pinned to the Start screen.
Sports: Adds 29 additional sports leagues, for a total of 65 sports.
Travel: Includes new travel content from Lonely Planet, Frommer’s and Frodor’s.
Weather: Adds support for dynamically moving weather maps for your city or region in a number of categories including satellite, temperature, precipitation, cloud cover and radar.
All six of these apps were built by the couple of hundred developers in the Bing AppEx (Application Experiences) team. AppEx used primarily (but not exclusively) HTML5 and JavaScipt to build showcase apps that often include Bing and MSN data and elements. The AppEx deliverables are meant to visibly demonstrate to customers and other developers what what well-designed Metro/modern/Windows 8 apps look like. (The AppEx team did not build the Windows Mail or SkyDrive apps; those were built by the Windows client team.)
The Bing team also built five apps for Microsoft Office, including Bing Finance for Excel, Bing Maps for Excel, Bing Image Search for Word, Bing News Search for Word and Bing Dictionary for Excel and Word. Microsoft is not yet pushing updates for these Bing Office apps, a spokesperson confirmed.
Some have asked whether the Bing AppEx team might be building apps for Windows Phone. No word on that so far, but I wouldn't be surprised.