Windows 8 Bing apps get updated with new features

Despite the recent slew of updates Microsoft still isn't satisfied with the built-in Windows 8 apps. The company will be releasing updated versions of their Bing apps this week. These include the News, Finance, Sports, Maps and Travel apps. Some of the apps will be getting new features while other will only receive some minor bug fixes.

Bing News, for example, will now let users add their own RSS feeds to the news stream which is an important new feature. Depending on the way these feeds are formatted the app will either display them as it does with other articles or it will open up the browser in case the feeds aren't optimized. Users will also be able to pin these optimized feeds to their start screen as well as sign-up for international editions of the news.

Another new addition is the ability to choose a subject and have the app deliver all news related to that subject. This does come in handy if you're the type of person that only reads select sections of a newspaper. You can now also share stories with others via the Share charm as well as save stories for offline reading later. And finally you can now see an image from the article full-screen as well as a slideshow of all the images in the article.

The Maps app will also be receiving a few improvements. Categories such as restaurants and hospitals will now appear as as local search options while using the app. There will also be some new settings such as automatic location tracking and automatically using Bird's Eye view. Venue Maps have also been added though they seem to be restricted to a limited number of locations. Maps also provides Walking and Transit directions now.

The Sports app seems to have added a lot of local content including European, Central and South American and other soccer leagues as well as World Cup Qualifiers for all regions. In addition there's also in depth coverage of NBA and cricket live games. It's a pretty substantial update in terms of content.

The Travel app has also added content sources such as Lonely Planet and Fodors. It also has a new "Nearby" feature so you can find local attractions and POIs close to your hotel. You can now save your favorite destinations, articles and hotels using the "Favorites" list. Content now fits better in Portrait mode and on high resolution displays and hotel booking services have been extended to more countries though there's no detailed list on which countries specifically.

Lastly the Finance app will get a few new features such as a mortgage calculator, a retirement planner and a currency converter. All of these will be located under Tools, a new section within the app.

Source: The Windows Store [1][2][3][4][5]

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