Microsoft adds improvements to its Power BI preview

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced certain new and notable features to the Power BI for Office 365 preview and Power BI in Excel. Power BI for Office received natural language search through Q&A whereas two Power BI add-ins (Power Map and Power Query) in Excel receive improved data 3D mapping visualizations and data search.

For those who are not aware, Power BI is a set of tools providing self-service BI solutions to everyday business users through Excel. It includes mapping, data query, modeling, and interactive charting usually found on top ribbon of Excel.

According to Microsoft, Bing’s proficiency has been in a constant influence with latest updates in big data, mapping, and machine learning to boost Power BI. With these Power BI updates it has rather become one of the most intelligent services online.

The first upgraded feature of Power BI is Q&A, is a natural language query engine that helps users to ask questions by typing their data in dialogue box and they get visual results with interactive charts and graphs. This is one of the most interesting add-ins by Microsoft. This feature decodes the questions asked by users and generates instant results with interactive maps and charts.

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Other update add-in is for Excel, Power Map Preview, formerly known as "GeoFlow”, is used for showing data having geographical characteristics in Bing Maps. It helps people plotting geographic and temporal data visually on Bing Maps with a 3D representation. This update includes immediate geo-coding of geospatial elements and region based visualization.

Last update is Power Query add-in to Excel. It helps users to discover, combine and convert their search data. The company has improved and extended number of available datasets including Wikipedia, data.gov and the Windows Azure Marketplace. Apart from this Power Query is now more flexible for consumers as it provides different merge options and a better integration so that they can share queries with others within the organization.

The preview of Power BI is available at http://www.office.com/powerbi to learn more about what’s new in Power BI for Office 365 here and what’s new in Power BI in Excel here