Weekend Reading: Aug. 24th Edition – Bing Adds Quora & Microsoft Debuts Its New Logo

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Bing adding Quora to the social sidebar, Microsoft’s first new logo in 25 years and a snappy new movie app in the Windows Phone Marketplace called Crackle. Don’t miss any of them!

Bing adds Quora experts to Social Sidebar. Whether you’re traveling to a new country, looking for career advice or researching a new laptop – sometimes the most useful information comes from people who have shared their first-hand knowledge and experience on that topic. As part of our ongoing commitment to work with industry partners to make the social experience compelling and useful for customers, we’ve worked with Quora to surface even more great content when searching on Bing. Quora is a knowledge sharing platform that lets you connect to everything you want to know about across a range of topics, questions and people related to what you’re searching for. The Bing Search Blog has the rest of the story. Below is a screenshot of Quora in the social sidebar.

Microsoft unveils a new look. In advance of one of the most significant waves of product launches in Microsoft’s history, we unveiled a new logo for the company on Thursday. It’s been 25 years since we’ve updated the Microsoft logo and now is the perfect time for a change. This is an incredibly exciting year for Microsoft as we prepare to release new versions of nearly all of our products. From Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8 to Xbox services to the next version of Office, you will see a common look and feel across these products providing a familiar and seamless experience on PCs, phones, tablets and TVs. Read more about it in this Thursday post on The Official Microsoft Blog. That’s the new logo below.

0841_Microsoft%20Logo

Now in Marketplace: Crackle for Windows Phone. The official Crackle app, which landed in Marketplace earlier this week, provides free access to hundreds of full-length films and TV shows, streamed to your Windows Phone for free. What’s nice is that you can play them as much as you want, and nearly two dozen new titles are added to the catalog each month from sources including Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, Screen Gems, and Sony Pictures Classics. Download the app—or check out the Crackle site—for the complete list of titles. The app is available in Australia, Canada, UK and US. The Windows Phone Blog has the full story. Also, don’t miss this Monday post announcing the Windows Phone Monthly Photo Contest. Below is a screenshot of the Crackle app.

Crackle App for Windows Phone

Microsoft getting young people involved in 2012 U.S. presidential election. In the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, young people emerged as a force to be reckoned with. But in 2012 it appears young people may be less engaged in the political process, even though the issues at the forefront — jobs, education, student loan debt — are ones that affect them directly. Charles Hauser has heard all this firsthand. A student at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., he admits he doesn’t think his peers are as involved politically as they could be. But Hauser and other students like him want to change that, and they’ve found a strong ally in Microsoft, which is bringing its technological expertise to bear in a wide-ranging effort to promote dialog and participation in the 2012 U.S. election process. For the rest of this story, head on over to the Microsoft News Center and check out this Thursday post on Microsoft on the Issues.

County of Santa Clara to adopt Microsoft cloud solution for 15,000 employees. The County of Santa Clara announced on Wednesday that it will upgrade and consolidate its multiple, countywide email systems as part of its ongoing efforts to transform its operations, improve the quality and efficiency of its services to county residents and streamline IT management costs. The County of Santa Clara’s principal product is public services, which are provided by more than 15,000 employees across 26 diverse agencies and departments. You can read more about it on the Microsoft News Center.

Lights, camera, action! Adding videos to your Word documents. Videos are a great way to engage a reader, tell a story, invoke emotion and communicate effectively. They are found all over the Web (news articles, blogs, websites, etc.) and are a great way to enhance documents you send digitally. In the new Word, we added the ability to insert Web video directly into your documents, allowing you to create rich, interactive output that pairs your words with video whenever appropriate. Read more about it over on the Word Blog

Kinect price drop. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a new price for Kinect. The new permanently reduced price will be US $109.99 in U.S.. There will be also a permanently reduced price in North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific regions where Kinect is sold. Additionally, on Oct. 4, the Kinect sensor will be available for a permanently reduced price in Australia and New Zealand. Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson has the whole story. That’s the Kinect below.

Kinect_Sensor_Web

Peace One Day teaches students about peace through Skype talks. Skype has been a proud partner of Peace One Day, an organization devoted to saving lives by promoting worldwide peace, for more than three years. Since first joining forces, our collaboration has evolved to focus on raising awareness of Peace Day, Sept. 21, an annual day of non-violence around the globe. As part of Skype’s ongoing work to change the world by removing cultural, technological and societal barriers to communication, we’ve recently expanded our partnership further to include a larger focus on education. Read more about it over on The Big Blog.

That’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog