In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the Kinect Super Sunday Challenge, a new version of Skype for Windows, a collection of Windows Phone news bits and some alternative products for those concerned with some of the changes Google has made to its privacy policies.

Check out the Kinect for Xbox 360 Super Sunday challenge. In an effort to inspire the masses to get off the couch this Sunday, Kinect for Xbox 360, the official console sponsor of the NFL, and NFL PLAY 60 recently announced a challenge to fans and gamers across the country to help make Feb. 5, 2012, “The Most Active Super Bowl Sunday Ever.” Earlier this week, NFL PLAY 60 ambassador and Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees were joined by kids from an Indianapolis-area middle school in a press conference from the NFL’s Super Bowl media center to outline the details of the “Kinect for Xbox 360 Super Sunday Challenge.” Read this press release on the Microsoft News Center for the rest of the story.

New version of Skype for Windows now available. We released an updated version of Skype for Windows (version 5.8) Thursday with a few improvements we want to tell you about. Download the latest version of Skype for Windows and start Group Screen Sharing. Share photos with a group of friends and family or share your screen to display a presentation with up to 10 people. Group Screen Sharing is available with Skype Premium, which also includes Group video calling and live chat customer support. Read this post on The Big Blog for the rest of the story.

Kinect for Windows: Game on for commercial use. A journey was completed Wednesday, and another began, as Kinect for Windows officially became available. Little did we know that just over a year on from shipping Kinect for Xbox, we’d be inviting the commercial world to show us what’s possible with Kinect. Now, it’s here. For more detail on this story, read this post on the Next at Microsoft Blog.

Kinect

Lots of Windows Phone news this week. If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, we urge you to consider Windows Phone. To see what others are saying about Windows Phone, check out these reviews from The Boston Globe, All Things D, Wired and Geekwire, among others. And don’t miss this beginner’s guide on the best way to pick a smartphone. Windows Phone also made plenty of news on the app front this past week or so too. Check out this post on the seven best Windows Phone apps for staying green, a profile on the new Vimeo app and this great story on how Windows Phone can help fight malaria.

Gone Google? Got concerns? We have alternatives. During the last week or so, there has been a fair amount of discussion about how Google is making some unpopular changes to some of its most popular products. You can see some of the concerns and worries about lack of choice and so on in these links. The changes Google announced make it harder, not easier, for people to stay in control of their own information. We take a different approach – we work to keep you safe and secure online, to give you control over your data, and to offer you the choice of saving your information on your hard drive, in the cloud, or on both. You can read more about some of the great products Microsoft offers on The Official Microsoft Blog, including Hotmail and Office 365 and Internet Explorer and Bing. Don’t miss ‘em.

Our favorite Bing features. This week, we’ve been encouraging people to take another look at Bing. To help folks who may not have used Bing in a while find some of our favorite features, we’ve pulled together a quick list of some cool things you can do on Bing that you won’t find other places. Check out today’s post on the Bing Search Blog, which features a short video that encapsulates some of Bing’s best features.

MSN Living launches at Living.MSN.Com. Whether you’re interested in celebrity fashion, the latest beauty trends, or budget solutions for your family, MSN Lifestyle has always been your go-to destination with great content from your favorite brands like Allure, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, InStyle, Good Housekeeping, GQ, Real Simple, Parenting and more. On Wednesday, MSN Lifestyle transformed into MSN Living – a completely new site that delivers a brand new visual design, fresh original content, and experiences that speak to the varied facets of your life. Read this post on The MSN Blog for the whole story.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading! Enjoy the Super Bowl and see you back here on The Official Microsoft Blog next week!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog