Best of the Web for Windows users - 11 - 17 December 2016

This was another busy week for Microsoft: we have learned that next year they will bring Cortana to devices like smart fridges and other home appliances, that the Surface Hub is a sales hit in the business market and that Microsoft has made several new key investments in partnerships related to mapping data and location-based services. To see more details, as well as other interesting news, read this week’s recap:

Microsoft: the news of the week

These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:

Microsoft to bring Cortana to IoT devices with screens in 2017 - Microsoft plans to add Cortana support to Windows 10 IoT Core devices with screens as part of its Windows 10 Creators Update release.

Microsoft’s surprise hardware hit: The Surface Hub - Microsoft has hit a hardware home run that surprised even the people in Redmond. The Surface Hub conference room PC turns out to be selling like hotcakes, surpassing everyone's expectations.

Microsoft signs multi-year deal to use HERE mapping data in Cortana, Bing and other services - Microsoft has signed a multi-year agreement with location services firm HERE to use the company's mapping data in many of its own services. The two firms already have a strong relationship, with Microsoft making extensive use of HERE data throughout its own location services, but the new agreement will see deeper integration of HERE assets across Microsoft products over the coming years.

Microsoft partners with TomTom for smarter maps, smarter mobility - TomTom and Microsoft announced a new partnership that will see location-based services integrated into Microsoft's Azure cloud platform to make it easier to add location awareness to Internet of Things applications.

Microsoft to disable most Flash content in its Edge browser - Following in the footsteps of other major browser makers, Microsoft announced plans to enable Click-to-Run capability for Flash-based content in the next public release of its default web browser for Windows 10.

Microsoft is testing a new flyout design for OneDrive – here’s how you can try it out - Last week’s Windows 10 Insider build was filled with plenty of new features, but some have also noticed that Microsoft has selected a group of Insiders to try out a new flyout design for OneDrive on Windows 10.

Microsoft will give Skype chatbots a voice next year - In an age where all we want is to complete our daily tasks as quickly as possible, the last thing we want to do is actually talk to anyone -- and for many, that still includes relatively helpful robots.

Microsoft’s new Skype Mingo app wants to be your all-in-one Android communications hub - Aside from the regular Skype features which include sending Skype messages, interacting with bots, making Skype calls, Skype Mingo also offers full phone service. This means you can use the app as a dialler app, and a text messaging app – much like the Skype preview app on Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile (with the exception of phone capability in the case of Windows).

Skype’s real-time translation now works for calls to mobiles and landlines - Skype is expanding the availability of its real-time translation feature, integrating the tool with calls made to mobile phones and landlines. Previously, the translation feature, which began rolling out to users back in 2014, only worked for Skype-to-Skype calls.

Dropbox has updated their Windows 10 app with support for the Xbox One - Cloud storage provider, Dropbox, has recently updated their Universal App for Windows 10 with support for the Xbox One. If you are not already using Microsoft's native OneDrive app with your Xbox then perhaps Dropbox is worth a look.

Dolby Atmos arrives on Xbox One and Windows 10 in 2017 - This announcement makes the Xbox One and Xbox One S the first consoles to support Atmos in games, although—as it stands—only Blizzard has actually committed to bringing an Atmos-compatible game to the console in the form of its multiplayer shooter Overwatch. As part of Atmos support, the Xbox One and Xbox One S will also finally feature Dolby Bitstream pass-through, which fires audio data over HDMI untouched to a TV or receiver for decoding.

Looks like Microsoft will be going to Mobile World Congress in 2017 after all - While Microsoft has continued to develop Windows 10 Mobile, they have also become laser-focussed on the enterprise market, so it is somewhat of a surprise to see the company intends to attend the world’s biggest mobile phone trade show, Mobile World Congress, usually held in Barcelona around the end of Q1 2017.

Another consumer fights back against Windows 10 pushiness and wins - Microsoft didn't put up much of a fight, but it initially wanted to give Jesse Worley (the one who sued Microsoft) a $500 Visa card and $150 in coupons from the Microsoft Store. Worley rejected it and received $650, which he donated to the Alzheimer's Association.

Cool tips and guides

We would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:

Why You Should Worry Whenever a Service’s Password Database Is Leaked - More education on security and privacy is never enough. This is a must-read from the team at How-To Geek.

The State Of PC Gaming In 2016 - A solid editorial about the evolution of PC gaming in general and about Steam in particular.

5 Google Account Security Tips You Should Not Ignore - When you have a lot of your information stored on Google, it’s a smart thing not to leave your account vulnerable to attacks. This guide lists a few tips that could prove to be beneficial to your Google account’s security.