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Microsoft Updates Its Bing Apps For Windows 8, Adds Offline Mode, RSS Feeds To News App

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Microsoft today launched updates for five out of its six Bing Apps for Windows 8. With this update, the News, Finance, Sports, Travel and Maps apps – all of which are installed by default on Windows 8 systems – now all sport a number of new features and improvements that, as Microsoft puts it, “make it easier to customize and personalize them to best suit your needs.” The company also announced an update to the Bing Weather App, but this new version is not available yet.

None of the updates will rock your world, but all of them are welcome additions, especially because they often felt somewhat limited in their early iterations.

Those of you who are still coming to grips with the upcoming demise of Google Reader, for example, will appreciate the fact that the Bing News app now supports RSS feeds and offline reading. In addition, the app now also features more customization options so that you can “keep tabs on specific story categories, topics, or news sources that matter to you.”

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The Maps app now includes traffic incident notifications and improved driving, transit and walking directions. Users can also now bookmark locations they visit regularly to their start screen.

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The Finance app now includes an updates watch list and real-time U.S. stock updates, and the Sports app adds 29 new leagues. The Travel app now includes content from Lonely Planet and Frodor’s, as well as Frommer’s, which the original owners just bought back from Google.

The Weather app also received a few interesting new tools, including the ability to get weather conditions at ski resorts in 24 countries around the world (just in time for the end of the ski season), as well as better moving weather maps.

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