Going Beyond 10 Blue Links with Bing; Kinect-based Device for Speech & Hearing Impaired; Windows Live SMS Alerts Sunsets on May 31; Metro Styled Microsoft Account Website Screen Revealed

Windows Live SMS alerts, which is live since Microsoft rebranded MSN Alerts back in 2006, will now be discontinued on May 31st, according to an email notification that the company began sending to its users.For those news, "SMS alerts allows you to subscribe to particular contents from various Microsoft's partners, and provides notifications either via […]

Windows Live SMS Alerts Sunsetting on May 31, 2012

Windows Live SMS alerts, which is live since Microsoft rebranded MSN Alerts back in 2006, will now be discontinued on May 31st, according to an email notification that the company began sending to its users.

For those news, "SMS alerts allows you to subscribe to particular contents from various Microsoft's partners, and provides notifications either via Messenger toasts, email, or direct to your mobile device via SMS."

Dear Windows Live customer,

We're contacting you because we are making a change to the Windows Live alerts feature for Microsoft Hotmail, Microsoft SkyDrive and Windows Live Messenger.

You might be using the alerts feature to have text messages sent to your phone when a new mail, Messenger social or SkyDrive comment arrives. The Windows Live mobile alert feature is being discontinued as of May 31st. This means you will not receive text messages on your phone when a new mail, Messenger social or SkyDrive comment arrives.

Please remember Hotmail, Messenger and SkyDrive may be accessed directly from your phone or phone's web browser. For more info, see Get mail on your phone, Get Messenger on your phone, and Get SkyDrive on your phone.

We remain focused on making Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive and your Windows PC the best that they can be. Note that this change has no impact on your ability to access Hotmail, Messenger, and Skydrive.

Thanks for your understanding and patience as we update our services.

Sincerely,
The Windows Live Team

Also, as last week, we reported that at the Search Summit in San Francisco, Microsoft showcased a brand new social search that is designed to help you interact with friends and take action without compromising the core search experience -- went live on May 15 in the United States.

You can read more about the new features here, or watch the video below to see the new Bing in action.

You can give it a try at www.bing.com/new.

Kinect for Blinds

Also, Microsoft India employees have developed a technology that would help for hearing and speech impaired people to communicate with others.

The device is designed using Kinect for the blind helps them navigate their way to destination safely through objects in an indoor space - will recognise simple finger or spelling as input and convert the symbol into text or speech.

"Hand gestures will be recognised by the device and will be converted as text or voice. This is useful for visually impaired people also. They can just speak to the computer and it will be converted into text," Venkatesh told visiting reporters at the Garage Science Fair, an initiative that allows Microsoft's own employees to get started on their innovative ideas, and launch their side projects.

Besides, another team has developed - Kinectacles, an application that helps visually impaired people to navigate on their own.

"Using a real-time scanning, the person is directed whether he should move further or not. A built-up voice will give suggestions to the person based on the distance between the blind person and object," Rishabh Varma, an associate of Microsoft India who along with three of his colleagues developed Kinectacles application, said.

Back in 2010, Microsoft had discontinued Windows Live Alerts service, but it retained alerts feature for Hotmail, Calendar, SkyDrive, and Messenger social. Users were able to add in their mobile number at http://sms.live.com and then configure various notifications via Messenger social and Hotmail.

Microsoft recently in a Windows 8 blog post revealed that it is re-branding the Windows Live now to be called as "Microsoft Account." A new screenshot leaked recently shows Microsoft's new Metro style Account website.

Metro Style Microsoft Account Header

New Metro Style Microsoft Account Overview Page

  • The new Account website will feature an Overview, where you can edit your name and other personal information.
  • A Profile section that takes you to http://profile.live.com.
  • A Notification section that helps you manage your email preferences.
  • A Permissions section to manage linked accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • And finally a Billing section which takes you to http://billing.microsoft.com.

This new Account website will eventually be available via http://account.live.com