...loading...

Posts Tagged ‘Sleek’

Ivee Sleek is a voice assistant that controls your connected home via WiFi

By this point, most of us are accustomed to being able to talk to our laptops and phones to get them to do what we want (some of the time, at least). Now, Ivee Sleek is here to give you the same control over all those WiFi-equipped lightbulbs, …

Related Posts:

The Ivee Sleek Isn’t Just An Alarm Clock, It’s A Voice-Controlled Hub For Smart Homes

ivee-sleek2

Alarm clocks rarely do much to get people’s salivary glands fired up, but ivee’s Sleek may just change that. To be fair though, calling the Sleek an alarm clock is about as accurate as calling Microsoft an OS maker — the description technically fits, but it’s a hell of an understatement.

The Sleek may have the right looks to adorn your nightstand, but its big draw is that it’s capable of connecting to the internet and interpreting your natural voice commands.

The ivee team showed off a pair of Sleek prototypes back at CES (which I’m now kicking myself for missing), but they’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help bring the thing to market. Here’s the team vision in a nutshell: once you’ve procured a Sleek, you can set it up and ask it to set alarms, tune the FM radio, or play soothing nature sounds as you drift away into darkness. Once it’s connected to your home Wi-Fi network though, it’ll be able to answer basic queries for weather and stock performance (thanks to Wolfram Alpha’s API).

Firing up a web browser and start digging into the Sleek’s backend reveals even more options, and that’s where much of the magic happens — users will be able to hook up certain sorts of smart home gadgetry into the Sleek service, and can control them by chatting up the Sleek base station. So far the team has managed to get it working with the popular Nest thermostat and Belkin’s smart WeMo power outlets, and there’s a voice control scheme for Roombas in the works too.

Oh, and if you do decide to put the Sleek in your bedroom, can you ask it to read you a bed time story. Sadly, it doesn’t look like backers have any say on what ivee reads (which, knowing the internet, is probably for the best). The big potential downside for home automation nerds is that the Sleek lacks support for some common wireless connectivity schemes like Z-Wave or even Bluetooth, but the team is looking to bypass that hurdle by folding support for existing hub devices that can handle that sort of wireless interfacing.

Sadly, the early backer spots (and the slightly lower price tags that went with them) have all been snapped up, so laying claim to a first-run Sleek will set you back a cool $ 179. In the event you’re dreaming of bossing your alarm clock around, you’ve got about three weeks left to back the project — the campaign has already blown through its funding goal and the folks involved expect to get those backer units out the door sometime this October.

Related Posts:

Up Close And Personal With Apple’s New Mac Pro, A Sleek Black Aluminum Beast

IMG_9388

Apple’s new Mac Pro is a radical departure from previous versions, and a redesign that in many ways has to be seen to believed. Which is why we’ve put together this gallery of the new pro desktop for power users, which is clad in black aluminum and houses not one but two workstation graphics cards along with PCI Express flash storage, Thunderbolt 2, Xeon processors and 4k video output for up to three monitors at 4K resolution.






The most impressive part of the Mac Pro might be how much Apple’s engineers managed to cram into such a small package. There are not one, not two, but six Thunderbolt 2 outputs, which adds tons of external expandability, as well as two FireWire 800 ports, audio in and out, HDMI and Ethernet.






The top of the device is designed to double as a handle, and the whole external casing slides off when unlocked to give access to internal components for swapping parts out. It doesn’t have the same kind of internal drive bays for traditional platter-based HDDs as the old silver aluminum behemoth it replaces, but this little powerhouse is sure to find a place in the hearts of many video and graphics pros.






Related Posts:

Watch this: Aether builds a sleek San Francisco boutique from three shipping containers

aether sf store

Aether is a mainly web-based store, but the California-based outerwear business has lately started expanding its brick-and-mortar company, with the launch of a new and innovative shop in San Francisco. Constructed from 3, vertically stacked shipping containers, the store has a distinctly industrial design that, as co-founders Palmer West and Jonah Smith clarified to Cool Hunting, fits together perfectly with Aether’s urban-rugged aesthetic.

One of the greatest obstacles they faced when creating the space was developing a way to successfully and elegantly show Aether’s inventory. The option: an upright conveyor belt system that runs from the first floor to the third floor. Clients can search with the shelf by …

Continue reading & hellip;

Related Posts:

Wilson Electronics announces Sleek 4G signal booster with multi-carrier support

Wilson Electronics Sleek 4G TKTK

If you’ve ever before discovered yourself on a lone roadway in the center of nowhere with no bars of reception on your phone, it’s quite likely that you’ve amused the concept of getting a signal booster. Wilson Electronics, among the very best known manufacturers of such gadgets, is presenting its latest Smooth 4G booster at CES. What makes this variation various from the designs launched simply a couple of months ago? Instead of requiring different boosters for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, it’s now efficient in supporting phones, tablets and hotspots on all three, in addition to legacy signals for all other US providers. Go to the press release for more information.

Continue reading Wilson Electronics reveals Sleek 4G signal booster with multi-carrier supportFiled under: Mobile phones

, Peripherals

2012 21.5-Inch Apple iMac Review: Slim, Sleek, And Stylish, But Far From Shallow

imac-review-1

Apple ’ s new upgraded iMac marks a substantial departure from a physical design that the business has generally utilized for its all-in-one desktop given that 2007. The 21.5-inch iMac represents a considerable visual change and loads a great deal of new things inside the entry-level $ 1,299 variation too, which is the one I obtained for screening. Here ’ s how it performed as my main device over the course of a few days. As reviewed: 8GB memory (previous generation delivered with just 4GB) 1TB 5400RPM hard drive 2 Thunderbolt ports 4 USB 3.0 ports Lessened glare display 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Center i5 processor Internal modifications aside, the iMac ’ s initially impression is based upon that brand-new, tapered shell with the 5mm thick edge. It makes the screen appear like it ’ s just drifting in air and, incorporated with a redesigned show that makes content seem much closer to the glass, has the effect of making the computer system look like

  • a store prop when
  • it ’ s
  • powered on and sitting idle
  • . My family was in town for
  • the weekend, and all were very impressed by the new display– the

    fact that it was sitting next to my 2008 iMac at the time only served to increase the result. It makes the screen appear like it ’ s simply floating in air All that fat cutting has actually led to some omissions, of course; the brand-new iMac doesn ’ t have an inbuilt optical drive, and it additionally lacks user-accessible RAM. Memory might once be exchanged out using just a screwdriver, thanks to doors on the underside of the iMac ’ s “ chin, ” but now you ’ re basically stuck with the memory loadout you choose at check out. It ’ s not a significant concern, however it suggests strongly considering paying an

    added $ 200 to max out the 21.5-inch iMac at 16GB is probably

    a great impulse, specifically if you ’ re not planning to upgrade to a brand-new computer for a couple of years. When it comes to the optical drive, you can select up Apple ’ s Superdrive (or other external drive), or you could probably live very gladly without offered exactly how pervasive digital circulation and other options like SD card (the iMac includes a built-in reader) and Flash-drive storage space are now available.

    Lastly, similar to previous generations, the 21.5-inch iMac does not feature a removable stand for VESA mounting, however brand-new to this generation is the fact the 27-inch one obviously appears to lack this capacity too. This spruced up iMac equipment is a huge improvement over previous generations in practically every method that matters. The weight and room cost savings are good, as are the addition of 2 Thunderbolt harbors that can both power external shows, and 4 USB 3.0 ports for high-speed connections, however the display is the real game-changer for long-time iMac owners. Apple declares a 75 percent reduction in reflection. While that is hard for me to quantify, I can state that, because my office has a rather thin curtain, I ’ m frequently in near-direct sunlight while working, and the distinction is considerable. In general, the display feels much enhanced in all jobs, but modifying images in Lightroom was a particularly pleasurable experience on this computer system versus on my 2011 27-inch iMac. The 21.5-inch iMac delivers strong improvements over previous generations in terms of benchmark scores. I found that it regularly scored above 9,000, putting it ahead of its predecessor by a minimum of 1,000 points on average, according to Geekbench ’ s comparison browser (a higher score is better). Numbers aside, the iMac truly impressed in regards to executing day-to-day tasks, including running Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as rendering and modifying video in Final Cut Pro X. It does have a specialized graphics card (the NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M with 512MB of specialized RAM), but it in some way feels faster than you ’ d anticipate it to from simply checking out a stat sheet. Primarily, I ’ m comparing it against my experience with my 2011

    27-inch iMac– my 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with its SSD storage still feels faster on the uptake all around, but that ’ s to be anticipated. I ’ d love to see exactly how the Fusion Drive hybrid method stacks up, however sadly that wasn ’ t offered in my testimonial device. The built-in stereo presenters absolutely produced much better noise than my 27-inch iMac Performance and processing power are only one part of efficiency. The iMac also ratings high in yet another regard: audio/visual performance. The new style comes equipped with dual mics, which did without a doubt seem to help me discover clearer to FaceTime phone call receivers, and the inbuilt stereo presenters definitely produced better sound than either the 27-inch iMac or the 27-inch Cinema Show I had on hand. Even my audiophile father commented on the sound quality enhancements while he was visiting and we were watching trailers through Apple.com. If you ’ re accustomed to OS X, then you can most likely skip this part, however it ’ s worth speaking a little bit about Mountain Lion and how it deals with the iMac for those who could be coming over to Apple for the very first time (and I think this device could attract a couple of switchers). The iMac particularly advantages from some of the modifications made to Mountain Lion. One in particular is search in Launchpad. This attribute includes a lot to a desktop-computing experience, especially when you ’ re primarily taking a mouse and keyboard as opposed to a trackpad. Search on every page makes Launchpad an in fact useful launcher, instead of just something you find yourself scrolling with mindlessly seeking an application whose icon you can ’ t seem to identify. Another very good function on the iMac is Dictation, which is noticeably much better thanks to the background noise-eliminating power of the dual mics. I chat like I ’ ve got a mouth filled with marbles, so this is an attribute addition that brings even more than a small benefit to me in certain. The 2012 iMac is an update that pushes the needle in all the ways we ’ re utilized to from Apple– improved efficiency, better hardware under the hood, etc.– but it additionally adds the most dramatic and attractive case redesign in recent memory to the mix. This is both nice from a visual point of view, and a welcome modification for anybody who requires to relocate their all-in-one around or simply wants it to use up less area on the workdesk. It also works in target display mode, making it a sleeker (albeit more expensive) alternative to a Thunderbolt Cinema Display as a 2nd screen for your Mac note pad. Some might gripe about the sacrifice of the built-in DVD drive, however in my book that ’ s not even a noteworthy admission provided all the enhancements on board, featuring lots of more high-speed I/O harbors than previous generations have provided. This is a terrific time to jump on board with iMac, because Apple will likely stick with this design for a while now, and future versions for the next couple of years will likely be less considerably different. I ’ d spring for the added 8GB of RAM were I to go with the base style, however that ’ s just personal inclination. The base model iMac ought to satisfy the computing requirements of the majority of, even with the default configuration.

    Related Posts:

  • 2012 21.5-Inch Apple iMac Review: Slim, Sleek, And Stylish, But Far From Shallow

    imac-review-1

    Apple ’ s new redesigned iMac marks a considerable departure from a physical design that the company has essentially used for its all-in-one pc because 2007. The 21.5-inch iMac represents a significant visual change and loads a great deal of brand-new stuff inside the entry-level $ 1,299 version as well, which is the one I got for screening. Here ’ s exactly how it carried out as my primary equipment over the course of a couple of days. As examined: 8GB memory (previous generation shipped with just 4GB) 1TB 5400RPM hard disk 2 Thunderbolt harbors 4 USB 3.0 harbors Decreased glare show 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Center i5 processor Internal changes aside, the iMac ’ s initially impression is based upon that new, tapered shell with the 5mm thick edge. It makes the display appear like it ’ s just drifting in air and, combined with a revamped display that makes content appear much closer to the glass, has the result of making the computer look like

  • a store prop when
  • it ’ s
  • powered on and sitting idle
  • . My family members was in town for
  • the weekend, and all were very impressed by the new show– the

    fact that it was sitting following to my 2008 iMac at the time only served to heighten the impact. It makes the screen look like it ’ s just drifting in air All that fat trimming has actually brought about some omissions, of course; the brand-new iMac doesn ’ t have an inbuilt optical drive, and it also lacks user-accessible RAM. Memory can when be changed out using just a screwdriver, thanks to doors on the underside of the iMac ’ s “ chin, ” but now you ’ re essentially stuck with the memory loadout you choose at checkout. It ’ s not a huge concern, but it indicates strongly thinking about paying an

    extra $ 200 to max out the 21.5-inch iMac at 16GB is most likely

    a great impulse, specifically if you ’ re not preparing to upgrade to a brand-new computer for a couple of years. When it comes to the optical drive, you can choose up Apple ’ s Superdrive (or other external drive), or you can most likely live very happily without offered exactly how pervasive digital circulation and various other options like SD card (the iMac has a built-in reader) and Flash-drive storage space are now available.

    Lastly, just like previous generations, the 21.5-inch iMac does not include a detachable stand for VESA mounting, however brand-new to this generation is the reality the 27-inch one apparently seems to lack this ability as well. This spruced up iMac hardware is a huge improvement over previous generations in practically every way that matters. The weight and area cost savings are nice, as are the addition of 2 Thunderbolt harbors that could both power external displays, and 4 USB 3.0 harbors for high-speed connections, but the display is the genuine game-changer for long-time iMac owners. Apple claims a 75 percent decrease in reflection. While that is hard for me to quantify, I can state that, due to the fact that my workplace has a rather thin curtain, I ’ m commonly in near-direct sunlight while working, and the distinction is significant. In basic, the display feels much enhanced in all tasks, however modifying pictures in Lightroom was a specifically pleasant experience on this computer system versus on my 2011 27-inch iMac. The 21.5-inch iMac delivers strong improvements over previous generations in terms of benchmark scores. I located that it consistently scored above 9,000, putting it ahead of its predecessor by a minimum of 1,000 points on average, according to Geekbench ’ s comparison browser (a greater rating is better). Numbers aside, the iMac genuinely impressed in terms of performing day-to-day activities, consisting of running Photoshop and Lightroom, in addition to making and editing video in Final Cut Pro X. It does have a dedicated graphics card (the NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M with 512MB of specialized RAM), but it somehow feels faster than you ’ d expect it to from just checking out a stat slab. Mainly, I ’ m comparing it against my experience with my 2011

    27-inch iMac– my 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with its SSD storage still feels much faster on the uptake all around, however that ’ s to be expected. I ’ d enjoy to see exactly how the Fusion Drive hybrid approach heaps up, however regrettably that wasn ’ t available in my testimonial device. The built-in stereo speakers absolutely produced better sound than my 27-inch iMac Speed and processing power are just one facet of performance. The iMac additionally ratings high in an additional respect: audio/visual efficiency. The brand-new model comes equipped with dual mics, which did certainly appear to assist me stumble upon clearer to FaceTime telephone call receivers, and the inbuilt stereo speakers most definitely produced much better sound than either the 27-inch iMac or the 27-inch Cinema Display I had on hand. Even my audiophile father commented on the sound quality enhancements while he was going to and we were enjoying trailers by means of Apple.com. If you ’ re knowledgeable about OS X, then you could probably skip this part, but it ’ s worth speaking a little bit about Mountain Lion and exactly how it works on the iMac for those who might be coming by to Apple for the very first time (and I think this equipment can attract a couple of switchers). The iMac especially perks from some of the changes made to Mountain Lion. One in certain is search in Launchpad. This feature includes a lot to a desktop-computing experience, particularly when you ’ re mainly making use of a mouse and keyboard rather than a trackpad. Search on every web page makes Launchpad a really beneficial launcher, instead of simply something you locate yourself scrolling through mindlessly searching for an application whose icon you could ’ t appear to detect. Another really good component on the iMac is Dictation, which is significantly much better thanks to the background noise-eliminating power of the dual mics. I chat like I ’ ve got a mouth loaded with marbles, so this is a component addition that brings more than a small perk to me in certain. The 2012 iMac is an update that pushes the needle in all the ways we ’ re utilized to from Apple– enhanced performance, much better equipment under the hood, etc.– but it also includes the most impressive and attractive case redesign in recent memory to the mix. This is both nice from a visual perspective, and a welcome change for anybody who should relocate their all-in-one around or just desires it to use up less space on the desk. It additionally works in target display mode, making it a sleeker (albeit more costly) choice to a Thunderbolt Cinema Display as a second display for your Mac notebook. Some could gripe about the sacrifice of the built-in DVD drive, but in my publication that ’ s not even a noteworthy admission provided all the enhancements on board, including many individuals even more high-speed I/O ports than previous generations have provided. This is an excellent time to leap on board with iMac, because Apple will likely stick with this design for a while now, and future versions for the next few years will likely be less drastically different. I ’ d spring for the extra 8GB of RAM were I to go with the base model, however that ’ s simply individual choice. The base model iMac must satisfy the computing demands of most, even with the default configuration.

    Related Posts:

  • 2012 21.5-Inch Apple iMac Review: Slim, Sleek, And Trendy, However Far From Shallow

    imac-review-1

    Apple ’ s new redesigned iMac marks a significant departure from a physical design that the business has essentially used for its all-in-one desktop computer since 2007. The 21.5-inch iMac represents a significant aesthetic change and packs a great deal of brand-new things inside the entry-level $ 1,299 version also, which is the one I received for screening. Right here ’ s how it executed as my main machine over the course of a couple of days. As assessed: 8GB memory (previous generation shipped with just 4GB) 1TB 5400RPM tough drive 2 Thunderbolt ports 4 USB 3.0 harbors Lowered glare display 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor Internal modifications aside, the iMac ’ s first impression is based on that new, tapered shell with the 5mm thick edge. It makes the display look like it ’ s just drifting in air and, integrated with a renovated show that makes content seem much closer to the glass, has the result of making the pc look like

  • a store prop when
  • it ’ s
  • powered on and sitting idle
  • . My family was in town for
  • the weekend, and all were really amazed by the new display– the

    reality that it was sitting next to my 2008 iMac at the time just served to elevate the effect. It makes the display look like it ’ s just drifting in air All that fat cutting has brought about some omissions, of course; the brand-new iMac doesn ’ t have an inbuilt optical drive, and it additionally does not have user-accessible RAM. Memory could when be changed out taking simply a screwdriver, thanks to doors on the underside of the iMac ’ s “ chin, ” but now you ’ re basically stuck with the memory loadout you select at checkout. It ’ s not a significant issue, but it suggests strongly thinking about paying an

    extra $ 200 to max out the 21.5-inch iMac at 16GB is probably

    a great impulse, especially if you ’ re not preparing to upgrade to a new pc for a couple of years. As for the optical drive, you could choose up Apple ’ s Superdrive (or any sort of other external drive), or you can most likely live really gladly without provided how pervasive digital distribution and various other choices like SD card (the iMac comes with an inbuilt reader) and Flash-drive storage are now readily available.

    Finally, similar to previous generations, the 21.5-inch iMac does not feature a removable stand for VESA mounting, however brand-new to this generation is the reality the 27-inch one obviously seems to lack this capacity as well. This spruced up iMac hardware is a huge improvement over previous generations in practically every means that matters. The weight and room savings are good, as are the addition of 2 Thunderbolt harbors that can both power external displays, and 4 USB 3.0 ports for high-speed hookups, but the screen is the genuine game-changer for long-time iMac owners. Apple claims a 75 percent reduction in representation. While that is difficult for me to quantify, I could say that, since my office has a rather thin curtain, I ’ m commonly in near-direct sunlight while working, and the distinction is substantial. In general, the screen feels much enhanced in all tasks, however modifying images in Lightroom was a particularly pleasurable experience on this pc versus on my 2011 27-inch iMac. The 21.5-inch iMac delivers strong improvements over previous generations in terms of benchmark ratings. I located that it consistently scored above 9,000, placing it ahead of its predecessor by a minimum of 1,000 points on average, according to Geekbench ’ s comparison browser (a higher score is much better). Numbers aside, the iMac genuinely amazed in terms of executing day-to-day tasks, featuring running Photoshop and Lightroom, along with rendering and editing video in Final Cut Pro X. It does have a specialized graphics card (the NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M with 512MB of devoted RAM), but it in some way feels faster than you ’ d expect it to from simply reviewing a stat sheet. Mostly, I ’ m comparing it against my experience with my 2011

    27-inch iMac– my 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with its SSD storage space still feels much faster on the uptake all around, but that ’ s to be expected. I ’ d enjoy to see how the Fusion Drive hybrid method heaps up, but sadly that wasn ’ t readily available in my evaluation unit. The inbuilt stereo speakers absolutely produced better noise than my 27-inch iMac Performance and processing power are only one aspect of efficiency. The iMac additionally scores high in an additional respect: audio/visual performance. The new model comes equipped with dual mics, which did without a doubt appear to assist me come throughout more clear to FaceTime telephone call receivers, and the inbuilt stereo presenters definitely produced better noise than either the 27-inch iMac or the 27-inch Cinema Display I had on hand. Even my audiophile father discussed the sound quality improvements while he was visiting and we were enjoying trailers via Apple.com. If you ’ re accustomed to OS X, then you could probably skip this area, however it ’ s worth chatting a bit about Mountain Lion and exactly how it deals with the iMac for those who may be coming over to Apple for the first time (and I think this equipment could possibly attract a few switchers). The iMac especially benefits from some of the modifications made to Mountain Lion. One in certain is search in Launchpad. This attribute includes a great deal to a desktop-computing experience, particularly when you ’ re largely using a mouse and keyboard instead of a trackpad. Search on every page makes Launchpad an in fact beneficial launcher, rather of simply something you discover yourself scrolling with mindlessly searching for an app whose icon you could ’ t seem to spot. Yet another extremely nice function on the iMac is Dictation, which is significantly better thanks to the background noise-eliminating power of the dual mics. I chat like I ’ ve got a mouth filled with marbles, so this is a function addition that brings more than a small advantage to me in particular. The 2012 iMac is an update that pushes the needle in all the ways we ’ re utilized to from Apple– improved efficiency, better hardware under the hood, etc.– however it also includes the most impressive and appealing case redesign in recent memory to the mix. This is both nice from a visual point of view, and a welcome change for anybody who needs to move their all-in-one around or simply wishes it to take up less area on the desk. It additionally works in target display mode, making it a sleeker (albeit more costly) option to a Thunderbolt Cinema Show as a 2nd display for your Mac note pad. Some could gripe about the sacrifice of the built-in DVD drive, but in my publication that ’ s not even a popular admission offered all the improvements on board, featuring many individuals even more high-speed I/O harbors than previous generations have offered. This is a good time to jump on board with iMac, since Apple will likely stick with this design for a while now, and future iterations for the following couple of years will likely be less drastically different. I ’ d spring for the additional 8GB of RAM were I to go with the base design, however that ’ s simply individual preference. The base model iMac ought to satisfy the computing demands of the majority of, even with the default configuration.

    Incoming search terms:

    Related Posts:

  • HP Envy Spectre XT review: a sleek and speedy Ultrabook with a killer keyboard

    DNP HP Envy Spectre XT a 13inch Ultrabook

    HP’s Envy 14 Spectre struck virtually all the right notes when we examined it back in March, thanks to its high-res display, sleek metal-and-glass design and brisk performance, however a rigid trackpad and the steep $ 1,400 rate were clear negative aspects. The brand-new Envy Spectre XT, a 13.3-inch Ivy Bridge-powered Ultrabook, has a thinner, lighter profile than its large brother, and a lower $ 1,000 price to match. That’s still not chump modification, though, so does the XT deserve a spot in the leading rate of Intel-approved ultraportables? Join us past the break for the full breakdown.

    2012 12:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds. Permalink|| Email this|Comments

    Incoming search terms:

    Related Posts:

    Bing Goes Sleek and More Social

    If you’ve ever cleaned off a cluttered desk, replacing messy stacks of paper with framed photos of people who really matter, you have a rough idea of what Microsoft did with its new Bing search engine this week. Gone are the distracting, multicolored search results. Gone are the lists of recently searched terms that you never looked at anyway. Gone are the search results mingled with Facebook “likes.”

    What’s left? A lot of white space, which creates a calmer environment for reading and digesting information. A new middle column, which Microsoft calls Snapshot, displays task-oriented content to help people do things like making restaurant reservations, getting directions or seeing movie times. And Bing’s most unusual new feature is a flush-right column called Sidebar designed to automatically surface names of relevant Facebook friends and others around the Web who could best help you with a specific query.

    DSOLUTION

    Bing’s Snapshot column helps users do things like make a hotel reservation. Its Sidebar column, far right, shows friends who may have answers to help with a person’s current search.

    The new Bing is automatically available to about 20% of users starting Tuesday. If you’re not one of the 20%, you can see the new interface and Sidebar on Bing.com/new. By June 1, all features will be automatically available to everyone.

    I’ve had access to this revamped Bing for the past week, and its prospects are promising. It feels cleaner and clearer. Sidebar’s integrated social knowledge of friends linked to Bing through a person’s Facebook account—or people from Twitter and blogs who are suggested by Bing—can turn the solitude of Web searching into a group activity. For example, a search for Napa Valley restaurants smartly brings up the name of a friend who recently posted a photo album from Napa, a colleague who lists Napa Valley as his hometown as well as a well-known blogger who reviews restaurants in that area. Sidebar maintains a neat list of your queries and the responses, saving you the trouble of hunting through past Facebook posts.

    Compared with the way Google integrated Google+ “personal results” with regular search results—which ruffled a lot of feathers—Sidebar is more sophisticated.

    But Bing’s Sidebar faces a challenge: People aren’t used to searching like this.

    As fun as it is to poll people—even specifically suggested people—in queries, we usually search alone. Many of the things I type into Bing are quick ask-a-question-get-an-answer searches, and Sidebar’s format requires waiting for someone’s response. It’s possible that it just takes time to adjust to this new way of searching, but I’m comfortable with the Web sources that I already know and trust. (No offense, Facebook friends.)

    Additional partners, including LinkedIn, Foursquare and Quora, will eventually be included to help with queries in Bing’s Sidebar. Some of these will work later this summer. For now, Twitter provides the biggest source of people from around the Web who might know the answer to your query.

    Bing will continue to make improvements, according to Stefan Weitz, senior director of Bing search. By late June or early July, you’ll be able to tag friends in queries even if Bing doesn’t suggest those people as relevant to a query. This would have helped me when I searched for restaurants in Boston, where my foodie sister has lived for 11 years, though she didn’t automatically appear as a suggested source. Then again, when I searched for a Mexican restaurant in Kirkland, Wash., called Cactus, a friend who “liked” another Mexican restaurant in nearby Seattle popped up in my Sidebar.

    I didn’t realize this friend had ever visited Seattle or that he enjoyed one of Seattle’s Mexican restaurants enough to “like” it on Facebook. These helpful, serendipitous experiences may be enough to keep people using the Bing Sidebar.

    Bing’s Sidebar queries currently have a clumsy way of working with Facebook. If I query three people who are auto-suggested as friends who might know the answer to my question, the query only shows up on my Facebook page, not on the pages of people who were questioned. They must visit my Facebook page to see responses, an extra step that may discourage ongoing conversations. An Activity feed in the Bing Sidebar shows all Facebok friends’ query activity, but people look at Facebook more often.

    The middle column of the rebuilt Bing, called Snapshot, doesn’t always display content. When it does, it is geared toward helping people accomplish specific tasks, like booking a hotel room or restaurant table. In a search for the Oval Room, a Washington, D.C., restaurant, Snapshot showed a map of its location, four ratings from websites like TripAdvisor, hours of operation and a link to OpenTable for making a reservation.

    A shrunk-down version of this new Bing—including its cleaner look, Snapshot and Sidebar—will be available this week to run on smartphones including Windows Phone, Apple’s iPhone, Android phones and RIM’s BlackBerrys. Microsoft says it will work on tablets by early July.

    The new Bing is sure to get people talking—and its Sidebar is likely to tell you something you didn’t know about a friend that may or may not help you make a decision. But until it gets more accurate and more partners, I’ll use Sidebar like a side dish: It won’t make a big impact on my overall search experience.

    Write to Katie at katie.boehret@wsj.com.

    Related Posts:

    Featured Products

    Archive
    Gruvisoft Donations