‘Insert Data From Picture’ For Excel, Band Refunds, Quantum…

This week, “Microsoft Monday” includes details about new AI-based features in Excel, refunds for the Band, Edge for iOS now having translations, the Quantum Computing Network and much more!

New AI Features For Excel Including ‘Insert Data from Picture’

Insert Data From PictureMicrosoft

Microsoft is launching several new artificial intelligence-based features for Excel. The new features include Ideas, new data types, ‘insert data from picture’ and dynamic arrays.

The ‘Insert Data from Picture’ feature allows users to take photos on their phones of table data and have it automatically turned into an editable Excel spreadsheet. This feature — which was originally announced at the Ignite event in September — utilizes image recognition technology for it to work. The ‘Insert Data from Picture’ is being added to the Android version of Excel first. And then it will be added to the iOS version “soon.”

Another artificial intelligence based feature that was added to Excel includes intelligent suggestions with Ideas — which helps proactively surfaces suggestions that are tailored for the task at hand so that customers can analyze and understand their data in seconds.

Excel can also now recognize real-world concepts like stocks and geography. These features change flat pieces of text into an interactive entity containing layers of rich information. With the Geography entities, customers can integrate location data into an analysis of their own data. Both the stocks and geography data types will be rolling out to general availability next month.

There is also a new feature that allows you to make calculations using dynamic arrays. With dynamic arrays, any formula that returns an array of values seamlessly “spills” into neighboring unoccupied cells. This makes it easier to get an array of values returned as it is to work on a single cell. And rather than having to write many complex formulas for solving a multi-cell problem, you can write one simple formula to have an array of values returned. Some of the functions you can use with dynamic arrays include FILTER, UNIQUE, SORT, SORTBY, SEQUENCE, SINGLE and RANDARRAY.

And improvements for lookup functions have been made as well. VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP and MATCH functions operating on large data sets now execute in seconds rather than minutes. Plus performance improvements have been made to many key operations like copy/paste, undo, conditional formatting, cell editing, cell selection, filtering, file open and programmability.

Band Refunds

If you still use a Microsoft Band smartwatch device, then you may be eligible for a refund. Microsoft discontinued the Band smartwatch product in 2016. Microsoft continued to run the online services for the product, but that will no longer be the case starting May 31.

To be eligible for a refund, users must have a Band that is covered under its Limited Warranty and they must be Active, which is defined as having worn the Band on their wrist and completed at least one data sync from the Band to the Health Dashboard between 12/1/2018 and 3/1/2019. The refund amounts are $79.99 for the Band 1 and $175 for the Band 2. And the refunds must be claimed by 8/30/2019.

The Microsoft Band devices will still be usable, but limited in function. For example, Band users can still record and track daily health information and record activity data. And it can also be used for tracking sleep and setting alarms. But capabilities provided by the cloud will not work. After May 31, the Band apps will be removed from the Microsoft Store, Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Lead Investor In Spycloud

Microsoft’s M12 venture arm was the lead investor in a $21 million round of funding for Austin-based cybersecurity company Spycloud. Altos Ventures and existing Silverton Partners and March Capital Partners also participated in this round of funding.

Launched three years ago, Spycloud prevents hackers from stealing personal and professional accounts. For example, the company identifies vulnerable accounts and passwords. Then it notifies companies and employees to reset their passwords before hackers can cause damage.

SpyCloud recovered nearly 3.5 billion sets of online credentials from nearly 3,000 data breaches (“combo lists”) and dark web sources since it launched. And over 2.6 billion of those credentials included a password.

The funding will be used to pay for marketing and sales initiatives and to hire additional talent. The company is also planning to add more staff to its European operations.

Edge For iOS Gets Translations Features

The Microsoft Edge browser for iOS now has the ability to translate websites. This feature works on Edge on iPhones and iPads. This feature is included in a software update for Edge on iOS being rolled out now.

“Thanks for using Microsoft Edge! Instant web page translation is available with this update. This release also includes general bug fixes and performance improvements,” says the release notes for Edge on iOS version 42.11.4.

The translation feature gets switched on by default after the update is installed. But you can turn it off from the Settings menu.

How does it work? You will see a pop-up at the bottom of the screen that asks you if you want to translate the website to your native tongue.

First Lady Melania Trump Visits Headquarters

Today First Lady Melania Trump is visiting Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington to promote her “Be Best” campaign, which focuses on the well-being of children involving social media and drug use. At Microsoft’s headquarters, employees were reportedly planning to demonstrate the parental controls on the Xbox along with the Xbox Adaptive Controller according to Geekwire.

Quantum Computing Network

Today Microsoft announced it is officially launching the Quantum Computing Network during a Startup Summit event at its headquarters. Representatives from 16 startups attended the summit, which included talks from leaders of the Quantum team. And it also featured demos of quantum-related technologies.

“The Microsoft Quantum Network is our commitment to establishing the partnerships required to build the quantum workforce and the quantum economy,” said Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Azure Hardware Systems Group Todd Holmdahl. “We believe both are vital to solving some of the world’s toughest problems.” At the event, Holmdahl also said the company is looking at problems such as climate change along and big food production, according to Techradar.

Microsoft also announced two new partners: HQS Quantum Simulations and Rahko. HSQ develops quantum algorithms for predicting molecular properties for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. And Rahko is a quantum machine-learning company that develops scalable quantum chemistry solutions for quantum computers.

LinkedIn Job Insights

LinkedIn’s Job Insights featureLinkedIn

LinkedIn launched a new job search feature for users in the U.S., UK and Canada. When you search for jobs, it will now show personalized insights about jobs where more money can be made. Plus LinkedIn expanded the availability of LinkedIn Salary to over 10 countries. 

The pay raise opportunity feature is going to be displayed on a button on the job card and job listing going forward. Plus you can receive personalized insights by submitting your salary within the LinkedIn Salary tool.

“With these personalized insights we hope you have the tools you need to make informed decisions about your earning potential. And don’t forget to tap your professional community for help and introductions along the way,” said LinkedIn in a blog post. “In fact, more than 70% of professionals get hired at companies where they have a personal connection. Finding the job that’s right for you is the most important part of your career journey, and whatever your path, we’re #InItTogether.”


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