Microsoft just shut down its Clip Art library, and going forward, the company suggests using Bing's image search functionality instead. No problem, most people have already made the transition to web-based image searches when they're in need of a graphic or photographic, just not everyone has been using Bing to hunt down images. In an initial draft of the blog post announcing the change, Microsoft was blunt in saying that usage of the image library in Office has seen a steady decline as users turn towards search engines.
The web has grown from a single website in 1991 (World Wide Web Project) to more than a billion unique host names today. Around three quarters of those are inactive sites—parked domains and the such—but that still leaves over a quarter of a million sites. If you visited 10 different websites each day, it would take you roughly 70 years to get through them all, and that's only if no more sites are added. Yeah, fat chance of that happening!
Cheap all-in-one PCs will run Windows 8.1 with Bing
For a long while, owning an all-in-one was cost prohibitive for many people, as most models carried premium price tags. Prices have certainly come down in recent years, though there's not a ton of options in the way of entry-level AIOs for those who might be interested in such a system. However, that may change. There's talk that Microsoft is cooperating with Intel to offer system builders subsidies to promote Windows 8.1 with Bing on entry-level desktops and AIOs.
One thing you always had to account for when purchasing a Zbox or any other pint-sized system from Zotac was that you''d have to install an operating system. That entailed plugging in a USB optical drive or using a flash memory stick, or at least it used to. In a change of pace, Zotac has made available four different Zbox Plus systems pre-installed with Windows 8.1 with Bing.
Cheaper Windows 8, smaller PCs, SSDs of the future, reader questions, and a rant
We've assembled once again in the podcasting dungeon to argue about Windows 8 and the latest hardware; also known as the No BS Podcast episode #220. We begin by discussing Microsoft's strategy to give Bing a shot in the arm by packaging the search engine with a more-affordable version of Windows 8.1, and then we chat a bit about Nvidia's 800M mobile GPU series and its ability to conserve battery life. Next Gordon gives us his thoughts on wee PCs and finally Josh talks about his recent visit to Intel's SSD testing facility. We finish by answering reader questions, giving you our Editor's Picks, and letting Gordon pontificate in his trademark manner.
Would you upgraded to Windows 8.1 if Microsoft gave the OS away for free?
There are some interesting things happening in Microsoft's world right now. The company has a new CEO in Satya Nadella, co-founder Bill Gates figures to devote more time as Nadella settles into his new role, and there's an update to Windows 8.1 on the horizon. Depending on what impact that update has on Windows 8.1, some big changes could be in store, including a free version of Windows 8.1 with Bing. Here's the scoop.
A candidate for Microsoft's CEO position is already thinking about big changes
Former Nokia chief Stephen Elop is reportedly on Microsoft's short list of candidates to take over as Chief Executive Officer of the Redmond software giant. He faces some stiff competition -- most notably, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who has a history of turning around big companies -- but if Microsoft ultimately chooses Elop to replace Steve Ballmer, it doesn't appear he would be afraid to make some big, controversial changes.
Microsoft is renewing its partnership with Twitter that allows its Bing search engine to index tweets as search results. This stems from an announcement Friday, but comes at no surprise since Bing has been in on this practice for some time now, featuring tweets in Bing for the past few years.
There was a time not all that long ago that when you heard the word "monopoly" being used in tech circles, it was often directed at Microsoft. Some would still argue that Microsoft is a monopoly, but underscoring the changing of the guard as the market transitions to mobile, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer tossed the "m" word at Google during an annual meeting with financial analysts.
Microsoft spent a considerable amount of time and effort re-imagining Windows into what you see today with Windows 8, but at the same time, the company hasn't forgotten about search. Bing is getting a makeover inside and out, and not a one-and-done type of deal, either. Instead, Microsoft is building the backend of Bing in such a way that it can dynamically evolve with the web and the way people search.