Bing Lures Stargazers, Solves Rubik's Cubes
Microsoft's search engine helps users explore constellations and revel in '80s nostalgia, among other new experiences.Now that the school year is well under way, Microsoft has rolled out a few new Bing-powered educational experiences, including one developed specifically for stargazers and budding astrologists. Now using the term "constellations" or searching for a specific constellation in Bing will call up the company's new interactive constellations viewer. "Bing uses location identification technology to show which stars and constellations are above or below the horizon if you were to look at the sky at night," wrote the Microsoft Bing team in a blog post. "You can click on any constellation to learn more, such as Perseus in the example below, or hover over individual stars to identify them." Similarly, chemists-in-training can explore 2D models of molecules by simple typing in their names in the Bing search bar. Bing's interactive molecule answers provide a look into a molecule's makeup and structure. "You can hover over individual elements and electron pairs to learn more about how chemical elements bond to form molecules, and click and drag elements to 'play' with the molecule on the screen," added the Bing crew. A new vocabulary-enriching feature, called World of Words, generates a "word cloud" based on several different parameters. The educational aid—also helpful with crossword puzzles—displays words that start with, contain or end with letters of a user's choosing. It can display results based on the frequency in which they occur in text, length, popularity in search and Scrabble score.
For students struggling to properly format footnotes and compile bibliographies, Microsoft introduced a new citation tool. And users who want to explore the family trees of the world's royals can use searches like the "Romanov dynasty" to call up an interactive lineage chart, complete with a "Did You Know?" section that organizes family members into two categories, relatives by blood and by marriage, and offers other nuggets of information.