Thurrott Daily: December 15

Posted on December 15, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Music + Videos, Office 365, Windows Phones with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: December 15

Bing’s home page is pretty cute today.

Slow day today. Here’s what I could dredge up.

12/15/2015 3:08:45 PM

1-800-Flowers Introduces an all new app for Windows 10

Microsoft reports:

1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc., a leading destination for floral and gourmet gifts for all occasions, is introducing an all new app for Windows 10. And an exciting offer of free shipping for Windows 10 users on all orders placed within the app in the US until January 10, 2016.

Track Santa with NORAD

In the interests of holiday fun, Microsoft provides…

Follow along on Santa’s journey and learn about the places he visits with the NORAD Tracks Santa website, which features an online coloring and activity book exclusive to Microsoft Edge. You can also track Santa with Cortana and the Windows 10 Maps app. Ask Cortana for Santa’s whereabouts, and find out Santa’s where is he along with some interesting facts about his location. Use the Windows 10 Maps app to search for Santa’s coordinates along the path.

12/15/2015 2:54:24 PM

Dueling mobile payments announcements

Today, Google announced that it is expanding Android Pay to apps.

Starting today, you’ll be able to use Android Pay to speed through mobile checkout within many of your favorite Android apps in the US.

No more pulling out your credit card while on-the-go. No more errors thanks to clumsy thumbs. Just tap the Android Pay button in the app, confirm your information, and you’re done! And just like your purchases in stores, Android Pay never shares your card details with merchants.

Not to be outdone, Apple has apparently just added another 66 financial institutions to its list of U.S. card issuers for Apple Pay, as well as promised support for BJ’s Wholesale Club store cards.

The new issuers put the total over 850 in the U.S. For the most part there are no major additions, though there are notable partners like the Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union.

Meanwhile, Windows 10 Mobile’s Wallet app “allows users to scan and add in retail loyalty cards for the first time.” [How cute.](Support for loyalty cards means that shoppers can ditch the old-fashioned credit card-like method of collecting reward points in favor of scaning the card’s info on their smartphone.)

Support for loyalty cards means that shoppers can ditch the old-fashioned credit card-like method of collecting reward points in favor of scaning the card’s info on their smartphone.

Winning.

Microsoft starts rolling out Office 365 Planner preview

Mary Jo Foley describes a new feature for Office 365 premium commercial customers.

Microsoft has started rolling out a preview of its Planner technology to those participating in the Office 365 First Release program, officials announced on December 14.

Planner, which was codenamed “Highlander,” is a lightwieght project-management tool and will become one of Office 365’s next-generation portals, according to Microsoft execs.

Each new plan created in Planner automatically creates a new Office 365 groups. And every pre-existing Office 365 Group will get an associated plan.

Beta support for Apple Music arrives on Sonos

I received my email from Sonos this morning, installed the beta update, and can now access Apple Music using the connected speaker system. Seems to work pretty well so far.

Here’s what works:

  • For You: Browse and play recommended albums based on what you already listen to and love.
  • New: Explore handcrafted playlists from music experts, find the perfect playlist for any activity and listen to all the hits from out Top Charts.
  • Radio: Hear Beats 1 worldwide-broadcasting from L.A., New York, and London-and listen to handcrafted stations based on genres and themes.
  • My Music: Listen to all the music you already own and love, and browse over 30 million songs in the Apple Music catalog.

And what doesn’t (yet) work:

  • Ability to enable Apple Music service on an Android running less than 5.0.
  • Search is limited to the first 100 results.
  • Improving search to include items from My Music. (In the current beta, you can search the entire Apple Music catalog of over 30 million songs.)
  • Ability to listen to Beats 1 Radio shows on demand.
  • Adding songs, playlists or albums to your library is not yet supported.
  • Ability to edit playlists.
  • Sorting within My Music is alphabetical and may look different than your Library on the Apple Music app.
  • Newly added content within My Music may take up to 24 hrs to show up within the Sonos app.
  • Access to Smart Playlists, music videos and artist posts from Connect are only available within the Apple Music app and are not supported on Sonos.

And since I complain about this kind of thing all the time, I’ll just mention that this is one area where Microsoft is actually ahead of Apple: Support for Groove has been available on Sonos for months.