Weekend Reading: June 15th Edition–Bing Teams up with Yelp on Search & Skype Launches Conversation Ads

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Bing teaming up with Yelp, a Skype advertising update and a great slideshow to help last-minute shoppers pick the right gift for Father’s Day.

Bing and Yelp help you do more with local search. As one of the Web’s leading local listing services, Yelp is a great resource that helps connect you with local businesses and restaurants. Scanning reviews from real people can often make the difference between the perfect night out and wishing you had stayed in. At Bing, we’re dedicated to helping you do more, so we are pleased to roll out increased Yelp coverage in Bing search results. Read this Thursday post on the Bing Search Blog for the whole story. And don’t miss this Tuesday post about Qwiki arriving on Bing.

Skype advertising update. Earlier this week, we announced the launch of Conversation Ads in Skype. These new display ad units will appear within the calling window of users who do not have Skype Credit or subscriptions when they’re making 1:1 Skype-to-Skype audio calls using Skype for Windows. Head on over to The Big Blog for more detail.

Enhanced “My Xbox LIVE” apps for iOS & Android now available. Starting now, the My Xbox LIVE app for iPhone gets even better. The free My Xbox LIVE iPhone app update will let you find, learn more about, and control your favorite content from popular entertainment services on Xbox 360. You can control the content on your console with play, pause, fast forward and rewind controls directly from your iPhone. Also available for the first time on most Android phones, the free My Xbox LIVE app allows you to read and send messages to friends; manage your friends list and invite new friends; read and edit your full LIVE profile (name, bio, motto); change your avatar features and items with the avatar closet; and view and compare your achievement progress with friends. Read this Wednesday post on Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson for the full story. Also, don’t miss this Thursday post on The Official Microsoft Blog about Xbox 360 maintaining the top spot in the U.S. console market.

Microsoft signs first NUads advertisers. Microsoft announced on Thursday the official rollout of NUads on Xbox LIVE, making the new interactive TV ad format available for sale to advertisers broadly. Toyota, Unilever and Samsung Mobile USA are the first brands to develop NUads campaigns that will appear on Xbox LIVE this fall. NUads advertisements transform standard 30-second TV spots into engaging and actionable experiences using the power of voice and gesture controls of Kinect for Xbox 360. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center for the rest of the story.

Cool video: Xbox SmartGlass. In this Wednesday blog post, Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton highlights a cool video about SmartGlass. Watch the video below.

Summer approaches: great deals for dads & grads. It’s not your imagination; the light at the end of the tunnel is approaching fast. Whether you’re a student nearing the end of a marathon of schooling, a worker bee long overdue for vacation, or a dad about to get his day in the sun, your wait is about to end. And it’s high time to treat yourself. Check out this slideshow on the Microsoft News Center for great gift ideas.

Introducing the Windows Phone Gear Store. One of the biggest requests we get isn’t always for features – it’s for swag. So, we’re happy to announce the new Windows Phone Gear Store on CafePress where you can buy T-shirts, mugs, stickers, magnets, water bottles, and more with the fun “I Heart Windows Phone” logo on them. This store is a work in progress, and we’re still tweaking the product selection and design. We’ll continue to add new products and designs over time. Let us know what you think and what you’d like to see. You can read more about the new store over on the Windows Phone Blog. Also, don’t miss this June 12 post featuring a close look at a local Seattle chef’s favorite cooking apps on Windows Phone.

Look for us at Rio+20. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, otherwise known as Rio+20, kicked off earlier this week on June 12 and runs through to June 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The objective of Rio+20 is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development from political and business leaders across the globe. More than 100 heads of state and over 60,000 delegates are expected to attend the summit, which would make it the largest ever UN conference. The two major themes at Rio+20 are creating a green economy that allows for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and creating an institutional framework for sustainable development. For more on this story, check out this Tuesday post on Microsoft on the Issues.

Webinar: Excel PivotTables and Slicers. We try to help out as much as we can here on The Official Microsoft Blog. To that end, we thought we’d highlight a Webinar that surfaced on the Excel Blog earlier this week. The Webinar is an overview of two tools in Excel for crunching numbers so you can know what the numbers mean to your business: PivotTables and Slicers (new to Office 2010).

That’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog