Earlier this week Microsoft released Office 2013 and Office 365 Home Premium for the average consumer. While there are a lot of new changes that made their way into the latest version of Office, arguably the biggest difference is the Office App Store.
For those that don’t know, the app store allows you to download “apps” that add extra functionality and features to various parts of Office. These apps are built by third party companies, but Microsoft is apparently adding some of their own to the mix as well.
Today the Bing team announces they are joining in with their own Office apps, all five offerings being totally free with the new Office Store.
According to Microsoft, “With Bing Apps for Office we are introducing ways for you to be more productive without having to leave the applications.”
So what are the new Bing apps? There is Dictionary App that allows you to easily check words on the fly in all parts of Office, and is smart enough that you simply can type a word as it sounds and Bing will suggest the proper letters, words or even phrases to use.
Next up is Bing News Search. This allows users to search on the Internet for news and videos, irght from within a Word document.
The third app is Bing Image Search, which is very similar to News Search. You can search the web within Word and allows you to search for an image by selecting text in the document or typing a phrase into the search box.
The fourth app is Bing Maps for Office. This app uses Excel to find locations on the Map. As Microsoft puts it, “You can adjust the map view to road or birds eye. Imagine overlaying census data on a state map.”
Last but not least, there is also a Bing Finance app for Office. This one is still considered a Beta by Microsoft but allows you to “input stock symbols and customize the fields you’d like to display by selecting from a wide range of data columns, including current price and news.”
The addition of an Office app store is certainly a unique idea, and with 200+ apps already out there– there is clearly many app developers interested in such a solution. What do you think of the new Bing apps, do they sound potentially useful or not?