Along with its recent and shocking set of announcements regarding SQL Server 2016, Microsoft has decided to offer free SQL Server licenses for its customers to help with migrating away from Oracle database software. It's positioning this sale as an opportunity to "break free from Oracle". This offer is only available to Software Assurance subscribers, which is an enterprise licensing agreement that Microsoft offers to large customers.
Google is updating Docs to make it easier to manage large, complex documents. The company is adding a new outline tool which collates headers from whatever you're working on (that unfinished novel, for example), allowing you to jump quickly from introduction to index with minimum fuss. The tool appears on the Docs web app as a sidebar on the left of the screen, and on the Android app as a scrollable list on the right. (There's no word on an iOS release.)
Microsoft's Bing search engine has added some new elements to help others learn more about science. One of them is an interactive simulation of Earth's solar system when the search term "solar system" is used.
Microsoft says that this feature was added due to a request from Bing users:
"We noticed that people were searching for queries related to the Solar System and information around it such as "how far is the sun from the earth?" We also found that many wanted to see the planets in order of distance from the sun, in order of size, and shown at distance to-scale. Now, a search for 'solar system' gets the animated, interactive answer we developed and you get answers to all the above questions. You can hover over individual planets to see their orbits, get details about that planet, and clicking on a planet will take you to the Bing search page for that planet."
Google has begun experimenting with an entirely new format for search results, which could eventually let any brand, celebrity, or organization have a dedicated Twitter-like feed built right into the company's search engine. Google first started employing it last month by letting presidential campaigns post lengthy debate rebuttals — and later by curating candidates' stances on key issues like gun control and immigration. The design of these search results is similar to Google's mobile "cards," which can be swiped as well as clicked or tapped on to expand for more information.
Microsoft announced that applicants will begin receiving invitations today to purchase the HoloLens Developer Edition for $3,000. The kit will come with the device, a carrying case, a charger, a microfiber cloth, a Bluetooth clicker, nose pads, and an overhead strap. It will ship on March 30.
Software includes HoloStudio, a program for creating 3D in 3D at "real world scale", a version of Skype that allows people to communicate using holograms, HoloTour, which allows the user to transport to other locations, and three games: Fragments, Young Conker, and RoboRaid (previously known as Project X-Ray).