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Microsoft to launch Bing for Schools – Google Maps gets Waze – Ikea app introduces virtual furniture

Microsoft reveals 'Bing for Schools'

Microsoft is attempting to take on Google in the education arena by piloting a special version of Bing designed specifically for use in schools.

It wants to offer the 'Bing for Schools' service free to selected US institutions, and will ensure students do not see any ads or adult content when they search online. Director of search Stefan Weitz believes this is key, suggesting that many parents do not like the idea of their children being subjected to advertising in a learning environment.

Analysts have suggested the move has been timed to coincide with growing media coverage concerning the way our online activity is tracked by search engines in order to target ads.

Additionally, Microsoft will provide free Surface tablets and issue teachers with lesson plans aimed at teaching youngsters about using the internet.

This is not the first time companies have competed to get their hardware and software into US classrooms. Apple, Google and Microsoft have all offered their products at discounted rates, while Google has also attempted to rival Microsoft Office with its Google Apps Suite.


Google incorporates Waze into maps

As expected, Google has introduced several features from recent acquisition of Waze into its maps service.

Users will now be able to update Google Maps in real time and inform fellow travellers of any traffic accidents, roadworks and other incidents that may hinder their journey.

Android and iOS users will be able to access all this information using the traffic tab in the Google Maps app, and with Waze reporting millions of updates each month it is expected to become a popular feature.

The service will be made available to users in the US, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Peru.

Waze fans will also be able to continue using their app with the help of additional features from Google. Street view, satellite imaging and a full search function will make it quicker and easier for updates to be made and ensure information becomes available as soon as possible.


Ikea app puts virtual furniture in your home

Furniture giant Ikea has unveiled a new app that will allow buyers to see what potential purchases would look like in their own home before buying.

Until now, it has been necessary to measure the space where you want your sofa or bookcase to go and try to match this up with the products available. Invariably, this would not work and customers would find themselves with a piece of furniture too big for their front room.

However, this could soon be a thing of the past with the new service, which will allow you to bring up a virtual representation of what your room would look like with the new item in place.

This is achieved by placing a copy of the Ikea catalogue on the floor to help your camera make an accurate estimate of the size of your room. Not only can you see if your chosen buy will fit the space, you can also change colour and styles to see which one suits your decor best.

The store has also revealed it plans to transfer this service to Google Glass when it becomes publically available next year.

Written by James Riches


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