Microsoft updates six of its own Windows 8 apps

Microsoft updates six of its own Windows 8 apps

Summary: Microsoft is updating the Windows 8 apps built by the Bing AppEx team at Microsoft.

TOPICS: Windows 8, Microsoft

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.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RSS support is welcome.

    Nice updates, the apps store is getting better.

    Waiting for Outlook RT...
    • Minor upgrades...

      ....but still Worth it. Surface are getting better every day.
      • Not starting from a very high bar.

        The included apps with Windows 8 are a joke. They definitely need work.
        • Have you tried the Bing-authored apps?

          They're great, really! I find the Bing News app a great way to browse the news.

          The Windows team apps (Mail, etc), uh, well, not so much. They left a lot of room for improvement.
          • No, and yes they do.

            Why did Microsoft release Windows 8 with such poor apps? If you're going to try and move people to your new interface I would think it would be wise to ensure the apps for that new interface at least match those available in your previous interface. Instead they released something that has less functionality than Windows 3.x.
          • Captain Hindsight

            I suppose hindsight is always 20/20.
          • AppEx

            Well, Flydog, exactly THAT is the point: Bing-authored apps are a handfull, crucial apps like mail are awful, Office is not exactly touch-optimized, whole app-kategories like sailing and see-navigation are missing...
            Wht do you want me to get excited about?
      • RE: Minor upgrades...

        And every day all other platforms are sleeping... With these "minor update" tiny steps maybe Surface will catch up in 20 years.
        They need to think out something very nifty to shorten the gap, something like easy automatic porting of all iOS apps to Win RT, perhaps?
    • Encouraging

      I feel like with Win8, I got a product that might not have been totally awesome right out of the box. But at least it gets better all the time, and that seems to have improved my whole outlook on it. At this point I'm pretty sure my ThinkPad Tablet 2 is going to be my favorite computer of all time, and I've been using PCs since DOS.
  • Couple of Hundred?

    "All six of these apps were built by the couple of hundred developers in the Bing AppEx (Application Experiences) team."

    If developing these apps requires so many resources how does MS ever hope to compete with the apps available to Android and iOS users? Now, apps drive the choices of platform (devices and OS).

    My phone has largely replaced carrying around a laptop or even a netbook in my IT work; in another month or so I'll probably be using a small tablet to accomplish more with the increase in power and screen size. The great majority of apps I use were developed by individuals or small shops and are responsive to user feedback on a quick basis.

    I don't see how or why the creators of the OS could need that much manpower to create or update apps and remain viable in a rapidly changing field.
    • My thought exactly.

      These updates are fairly minor. To utilize so many resources and so much time to develop these updates? Lame.
    • Stunning

      I don't use the Bing apps a whole lot. I tried them early on and frankly wasn't all that impressed. There just wasn't much "there" there. If there are 200 people working on these things, I don't know what the heck they're spending their time doing.
    • Depends.

      if these apps are very well designed and modular, then throwing 200 people at it can get it done quicker. Also we don't know that all 200 are on these apps all the time.
    • re: Couple of Hundred?

      "I don't see how or why the creators of the OS could need that much manpower to create or update apps and remain viable in a rapidly changing field."

      Because the developers were forced by management to use HTML/JavaScript instead of XAML/C# to develop them. I also seem to remember something about MS using interns to develop the initial apps.
      Sir Name
  • the irony is

    what they really need to do is get the base native Google apps for Modern UI: Maps/Nav, Gmail mostly, but also Calendar, Drive, etc. I fail to see how any tablet can get a foothold without those apps. I realize this is partly caving in to one of their biggest competitors. But I actually have and like a Win 8 convertible, and without those apps I just don't see using it as a Modern/metro tablet much.

    The Weather app is very nice. Skype is ok, though not as good as the desktop app. Seriously, that's about all I use on the Modern interface, and I have this machine for about 6 mos.

    I would just kill for a native touchscreen Gmail on this thing.
    • Who's responsibility is it?

      Would that ball not belong in Google's court?
      After all they wont allow Microsoft access to certain information.
      For example content needed to create a Map/Nav app for Windows Phone 8.
  • Deckchairs ... Rearranging ...

    Rearranging .... Deckchairs ...
    Asok Smith
    • Why do you keep bringing Linux into this?

      I guess the next version of Ubuntu will be called Teetering Titanic?
      William Farrel
  • Microsoft updates six of its own Windows 8 apps

    All of which are right there on my start screen. Using live tiles I can quickly glance and get the data I need. Nice to see some updates to these apps.
    • Loverock-Davidson....... All of which are right there FLASHING in your eyes

      It own't be long and you'll need new glasses every six months...............because your eyes will be FAILING just like your Surface RT already has.......
      Over and Out