New Smoked by Windows Phone ads start today!

Over the last few months “Smoked by Windows Phone” has been a huge success—we’ve seen over 25,000,000 views of our videos and digital ads and run more than 150,000 in-person challenges in 45 countries worldwide. Those are some pretty big numbe…

Over the last few months “Smoked by Windows Phone” has been a huge success—we’ve seen over 25,000,000 views of our videos and digital ads and run more than 150,000 in-person challenges in 45 countries worldwide.

Those are some pretty big numbers. So we thought “Why stop there?”

Today I’m proud to lift the curtain on a new set of Smoked ads that will run through the summer. This time, rather than challenge people at Microsoft Stores (or on the CES show floor), we hit the streets of Seattle, asking real smartphone users to complete common tasks like taking photos and posting them to Facebook, finding awesome places to eat, or connecting with someone on a social network.

In this spot, for instance, I meet Ramona, a new Seattleite who just moved here from Montana. After talking to her for a few minutes I quickly learn three things: she loves seafood, hates to cook, and spends her free time with her friends. So I challenge her to find a great nearby seafood restaurant and share the details with a few of her friends. If her Android phone gets it done faster than my Windows Phone, dinner is on me.

Take a look to see how things go down:

You’ll probably run into the new ads over the next few months all over the web, on MSNBC and MSN — even on Skype or your Xbox — but if you’re impatient you can check all of them out right now on the Windows Phone Challenge YouTube playlist.

And remember: if you like what you see, spread the word using the hashtag #smokedbywindowsphone!

 

Don’t forget to follow Windows Phone on Twitter and like us on Facebook. And remember to follow me on Twitter to ask questions or just say hi.

Beep! Beep! Better traffic coverage on the way

Seattle’s traffic was particularly bad this morning. Fortunately, with Windows Phone’s traffic feature, I was prepared. As the program manager (and lifelong map geek) responsible for the built-in Maps app, I thought I’d give a quick i…

Seattle’s traffic was particularly bad this morning. Fortunately, with Windows Phone’s traffic feature, I was prepared. As the program manager (and lifelong map geek) responsible for the built-in Maps app, I thought I’d give a quick introduction to the traffic option and highlight some new upgrades that have been happening over the past few weeks.

If you haven’t tried checking the latest traffic conditions on your phone yet, open Maps, expand the menu, and tap Show Traffic.

The Show Traffic option helps you decide the fastest way to get where you're going.

Depending on where you live, you might see highways and major roads change color. Green roads are clear; yellow and orange roads are congested. And if you’re travelling on a red road, make sure to bring an interesting friend to pass the time with while you wait in traffic. Black roads are closed. If no roads change color, then traffic information isn’t available for your area. (And if you don’t see the Show Traffic option at all, then read on—I have news.)

Those are the basics…so what’s changed? Thanks to the hard work of our partners at Bing and Nokia, we’re now able to offer expanded traffic coverage to even more highways and secondary streets, giving you more info to help you plan your journey. Try it for yourself! In my Seattle neighborhood, I can now get traffic conditions almost straight to my doorstep. And here you can see a before-and-after example of our traffic coverage in Los Angeles:

This shows the level of traffic detail we used to show for Los Angeles.......and this is what we now show. Notice how many new secondary roads are lit up.

But that’s not all. Soon we’ll be introducing traffic data for selected cities in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. If you live in any of these countries and the Windows Phone Maps app doesn’t currently show a traffic option, expect to see it become available sometime in the next few weeks. I’ll make a short announcement here when that happens.

Until then, happy driving!

Weekend Reading: Feb. 11th Edition – Nokia, Bing jumps, ZDNet reviews IE9, the new Windows Phone Amazon app, Windows 7, Xbox and More

Microsoft is just chock full of news this week: the just-announced deal with Nokia, Bing’s grabbing up market share and the release of Microsoft’s new Web browser, Internet Explorer 9.
Dig in and enjoy!
Microsoft and Nokia…So happy t…

Microsoft is just chock full of news this week: the just-announced deal with Nokia, Bing’s grabbing up market share and the release of Microsoft’s new Web browser, Internet Explorer 9.

Dig in and enjoy!

Microsoft and Nokia…So happy together. Just in case you missed it, Microsoft and Finnish cell phone maker Nokia announced plans for a broad strategic partnership that has Nokia adopting the Windows Phone operating system as its primary mobile platform. A joint letter from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop goes into the deal in more detail. As part of the agreement, Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices.

Bing jumps 6 percent. Seattle Times tech reporter Brier Dudley reported in a Feb. 8th blog post that Bing’s share of the U.S. search market rose by 6 percent to 27.44 percent in January while Google fell by 2 percent during the same period. The search market share data came from Experian Hitwise, a global data analytics company. And in this Feb. 10th blog post, ZDNet writer Robin Harris tells us why he switched from Google to Bing.

ZDNet’s Ed Bott reviews IE9. (Spoiler alert: He likes it!) In this Feb. 10th review of Internet Explorer 9 release candidate 1, Bott writes, “With Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft has succeeded in building a fast, standards-compliant browser with a clean, modern design that integrates well with Windows 7.” In his review, Bott explores IE9’s user experience, privacy and security features as well as the browser’s performance and its compatibility with other Web technologies and standards.

Attention, shoppers! The official Amazon.com app for WP7 is here! The wait is over for mobilistas chomping at the bit for Amazon.com’s official app for Windows Phone 7. In this Feb. 10th post on the Windows Phone Blog, blogger Michael Stroh reports on the arrival of the new app in the Marketplace. And just in case you missed it, here is the Feb. 4th edition of Stroh’s Pinworthy blog series.

The U.K.’s Channel 4 News drops by for a visit. British journalist Benjamin Cohen and his colleagues from Channel 4 News in the United Kingdom came to Redmond for two days recently and were given an in-depth view of some of Microsoft’s next-generation technologies. Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton took Cohen wrote this Feb. 11th post, which includes the nearly eight-minute video segment that resulted from Channel 4 News’ visit.

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 ships. In this Jan. 9th Windows Blog post, blogger Brandon LeBlanc reports on the release of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 to Microsoft’s equipment partners (the companies that manufacture PCs, laptops and other devices that run Windows 7.) Both become available to the general public on the Microsoft Download Center on Feb. 22nd. Also, blogger Gavriella Shuster writes about how “Windows 7 updates deliver more bang for your buck” in this Feb. 9th post on the Windows for Your Business Blog.

Coming soon to an Xbox Live Marketplace near you. For all you gamers out there, here is a list of upcoming content scheduled to go live in the Xbox Live Marketplace. Some of the titles include “Galaga Legions,” “Space Invaders Infinity Gene” and “Blacklight.” Don’t miss them!

MSN Autos gets a tune up. In this Feb. 9th post on the MSN Blog, John Flinn writes about new features on MSN Autos. Flinn writes that the tune-up will “make it easier than ever to get up to speed on the latest automotive news and to find the right vehicle for you.” In other news from behind the butterfly, MSN visitors can check out a preview version of a new service called Postbox. In this Feb. 9th post, Rick VanderKnyff, senior producer at MSN Local, writes, “Users can contribute content on standing topics that include dining, events, people and places as well as special weekly topics that will be promoted on the MSN home page.” Topics include winter storms, Valentine’s Day and pet photos.

If the Department of Energy trusts us…Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton writes about how the U.S. Department of Energy is using speech analysis and indexing technology from Microsoft Research that enables people to sift through massive amounts of video using specific search terms. Imagine being able to search for video of that spectacular collision between an NFL player and a sideline camera man in Super Bowl XLV just by uttering a few key words or phrases from the comfort of your own couch, Clayton muses. TechFlash Managing Editor Todd Bishop also reported on the story in this Feb. 9th blog post.

Score one more for Windows Azure. Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Windows Azure, continues to rack up the wins. In this Feb. 7th post on the Windows Azure Blog, the Azure team reports, “Temenos, the global provider of banking software, today announced the availability of TEMENOS T24 (T24) on the Windows Azure platform. This announcement makes T24 the first core banking system to go into production with customers on Windows Azure. The combination of T24 and the Windows Azure platform, including SQL Azure, allows banks to move operations to a consumption based pricing model and enables them to scale resources effectively and increase volume according to customer demand.”

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next Friday, and thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Senior Manager, Corporate Blogs

 

Weekend Reading: Feb. 4th Edition – Bing, Office, Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, MSN and More

Posted by Jeff MeisnerSenior Manager, Corporate Blogs
Phew! What a week it’s been at Microsoft! Take a look below to see what I mean.
Bing sets the record straight. Just in case you missed it, Bing and Google had a bit of a dust up this week. In …

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Senior Manager, Corporate Blogs

Phew! What a week it’s been at Microsoft! Take a look below to see what I mean.

Bing sets the record straight. Just in case you missed it, Bing and Google had a bit of a dust up this week. In this Feb. 2nd post on the Bing Search Blog, Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft’s online services division, sets the record straight. The long and short of it, as Mehdi says, is this: “We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop.” USA Today, among many others, covered the story with a post on its Technology Live Blog. (Editor’s Note: Earlier today, Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan published this report regarding the dispute between Bing and Google, and we thought our readers should know about it.)

The future of search. Given the attention the dispute between Bing and Google has garnered, some might find it hard to believe that there was actually any other significant news where Internet search is concerned, but there was. Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton covered the Farsight 2011 – Beyond the Search Box event live on his Twitter feed, and wrote this comprehensive recap of the Bing-sponsored event.

Office Web Apps expands…big time. In a big piece of news from the Office team, it was announced via this Feb. 1st post on the Microsoft Office Web Apps Blog that Office Web Apps is now available in more than 150 countries. That means more and more people around the world with an Internet connection and a Web browser can view, edit and share Office documents.

The top Xbox Live games of 2010 are…Xbox Live’s own Major Nelson did some digging and revealed this list of the top Xbox Live games of 2010. Here are the top five, just in case you’re wondering:

1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
2. Halo: Reach
3. Red Dead Redemption
4. Fable III
5. Battlefield: Bad Co. 2

Patent reform. As noted recently on The Official Microsoft Blog, Microsoft is among the tech industry’s leaders when it comes to patent awards. That said, the current patent system in the United States must continue to evolve. In this Feb. 2nd post on the Microsoft on the Issues Blog, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez offer an in-depth analysis concerning the need for patent reform.

Twelve new Elevate America grants. First launched in February 2009, the Elevate America program provides people across the U.S. with low-cost and no-cost access to technology training so they can get the jobs they want in an increasingly tech-heavy job market. In this Feb. 3rd post on the Microsoft Unlimited Potential Blog, blogger Akhtar Badshah writes about 12 nonprofit organizations that will receive more than $5 million from Microsoft over the next two years to help people obtain the technology skills they need to compete in the modern job market.

Windows Phone 7 – to pin, or not to pin, that is the question. In his weekly Pinworthy blog series, blogger Michael Stroh sifts through the hundreds of new apps added to the Windows Phone Marketplace to identify those apps he feels worth of pinning to his WP7 start menu. Check out the latest installment of Pinworthy on the Windows Phone Blog to see what Stroh came up with.

MSN’s “Film Fan” and “Big on the Web” get refreshed. According to this Feb. 2nd post on the MSN Blog, MSN and Next New Networks have “refreshed the ongoing original video series Film Fan with a new host and a new attitude.” Also, in a Jan. 31st post on the MSN Blog, MSN announced the re-launch of “Big on the Web,” a daily show about what’s buzzing around on the Web.

Twenty-three million is a lot of downloads. Internet Explorer 9 has now been downloaded more than 23 million times, according to Web analysis firm Net Applications. Not bad considering IE9 is still in beta! Read more in this Feb. 1st post on the Exploring IE Blog.

Messenger and Facebook – a good match. The number of Windows Live Messenger customers who have connected Messenger to Facebook has grown more than 75 percent to 18 million people since last November, blogger Piero Sierra reports in this Feb. 2nd post on the Inside Windows Live Blog. Sierra goes on to write, “The addition of these new connections has nearly doubled the number of chat sessions between Messenger and Facebook to about 440 million, powering more than 2.8 billion minutes of Facebook chat.” CNET’s Don Reisinger also covered the story here.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next Friday!