Hello Windows Azure Marketplace users,

We’re back with another exciting set of announcements! In the past 4 months, we’ve not only supported the launch of a new storefront, but also made great strides in making our service more resilient, added a feature to help users guard against interruptions to service, added a huge portfolio of data services and app services, while continuing to improve the user experience on the portal and from Office products.

If you are a Developer, you will be very excited to know that we launched the Azure Store, which is a marketplace for data services and app services on the Windows Azure Portal, in October 2012. Want to learn more? Check out the keynote from Build 2012!

If you are an Analyst or an Information Worker, you will be interested in knowing that we improved the experience of using Windows Azure Marketplace from Excel PowerPivot, and we helped with the launch of Data Explorer, which is a data aggregation and shaping tool from SQL Information Services. Download Data Explorer and start playing with it right away!

Here are a few snapshots from Data Explorer:

 
 

 

 
 Here are a few snapshots with the improved experience from Excel PowerPivot:

 




We have also continued to improve the user experience on the Windows Azure Marketplace Portal. We added a sitemap, which is a one-stop shop access point to all the important resources on the websites. With this feature, discoverability of resources on the website was greatly improved. We also made an improvement to the data visualization tool on our portal, Service Explorer, by replacing it with the more metro-looking Query Builder, to unify the data exploration experience found in Excel and PowerPivot. With this release, we also added support for download to PowerPivot 2010 and PowerPivot 2013, to target a broader set of customers.

We also added a feature in which users can opt-in to Windows Azure Marketplace automatically refilling their subscriptions when the subscription balances are low – we got a lot of feedback from our users that there ought to be a way to automatically re-subscribe to a subscription when the subscription balance runs out, and we heard the feedback, and we released the feature called Auto Refill, that did exactly that. Hmm, too good to be true? Read more about Auto Refill.

 

Here is a snapshot of the sitemap:

 

 

Here is a snapshot of the new data visualization tool on the Marketplace Portal:

 

 

Here are a few snapshots of Auto-Refill:

 

 

 

  

We have also released a good list of content in the past 5 months, and one of the interesting offerings was the Synonyms API that we made available through the Windows Azure Marketplace.  The Synonyms API returns alternate references to real world entities like products, people, locations, and more. 

For instance, the API intelligently matches the following real world entities to commonly used synonyms: 

  • Product synonyms: “Canon 600D” is synonymous with “canon rebel t3i”, etc
  • People synonyms: “Jennifer Lopez”” is synonymous with “jlo”, etc
  • Place synonyms: “Seattle Tacoma International Airport” is synonymous with “sea tac”, etc.

 

Try out this cool API for yourself right here.

 We also released a ton of great content by Dun & Bradstreet, Digital Folio and our other key publishers, and here’s a short list:

 

To get a full list of data services, please click here and to get a full list of all the applications available through the Windows Azure Marketplace, please click here.

Thank you,

Windows Azure Marketplace Team