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    TECHNOLOGY: Betty Crocker Unveils Digital Kitchen Assistant

    General Mills and Microsoft Corp. have worked together to make the Betty Crocker Kitchen Assistant, a new digital, voice-activated tool featuring high-resolution recipe images and step-by-step cooking instructions, available on Windows PCs.

    General Mills and Microsoft Corp. have worked together to make the Betty Crocker Kitchen Assistant, a new digital, voice-activated tool featuring high-resolution recipe images and step-by-step cooking instructions, available on Windows PCs.
     
    Available for free download at www.bettycrocker.com/kitchenassistant, the application combines the content and services offered on the Betty Crocker Web site — including recipes and cooking tips— with timely, personalized recipe suggestions; programmable kitchen timers; and up-to-the-minute touch-screen capabilities. Based on Microsoft technologies and optimized for the new Windows 7 operating system, the Betty Crocker Kitchen Assistant features a highly intuitive recipe search interface, touch-screen compatibility and an easy-to-use “cook mode” providing simple instructions.
     
    “We’re constantly rethinking how we offer useful content to consumers in their homes,” said Mike Bettison, Web site manager at Minneapolis-based General Mills. “By partnering with Microsoft to create a unique Windows application, we are able to improve the utility of our content and shape it to be more relevant in the kitchen.”
     
    The app aims to improve and facilitate how cooks work in their own kitchens. Home chefs can enter the ingredients they have at hand, and the Betty Crocker Kitchen Assistant will suggest recipes based on that input. When consumers save their recipes online as members of BettyCrocker.com, that saved information will sync with the Betty Crocker Kitchen Assistant’s desktop recipe box.
     
    “With more families cooking together and eating at home, they are hungry for tools that can save them time in the kitchen,” noted Kevin Tigges, U.S. consumer goods industry solutions director at Microsoft. “The Betty Crocker Kitchen Assistant saves time by offering consumers a more interactive and informative cooking experience with help from their Windows PCs. The new digital tool also provides General Mills a compelling way to engage with its customers.”
     
    “We believe that over time, consumers will have a computer on the kitchen counter,” added Bettison. “Betty Crocker is looking to the future and wants to help consumers get there. That’s why we created Betty Crocker Kitchen Assistant to use in the kitchen. The application’s Cook Mode feature displays beautiful, large-scale recipe photos right next to step-by-step directions. With a large computer screen, those instructions can be seen from up to 5 feet away. The application also works with a touch-screen. Or if you’re hands are covered with flour, take advantage of Windows 7 voice recognition to move to the next screen.”
     
    Windows 7 users can additionally install a desktop widget with recipe suggestions and programmable timers. The app is also compatible with Windows XP and Vista.
     
    The Betty Crocker Kitchen Assistant is being distributed using the cloud-based service foundation Windows Azure as the content distribution system.

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