This edition of Weekend Reading is chock full of major news nuggets, including the launch of the new Bing, the availability of Windows 8 Release Preview, an E3 teaser and the debut of a beautiful new camera app for Windows Phone called Photosynth.

New Bing, available today, takes you from searching to doing. Do you ever feel like you’re spending too much time searching and not enough time doing? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey conducted by Bing and Impulse Research, nearly 75 percent of people spend more time than they would like searching for information online. Time wasted searching is a thing of the past with the new Bing design, which brings together information from the Web, experts and enthusiasts, and your friends to help you do more — available today at http://www.bing.com. You can find out more about the new Bing over on the Microsoft News Center. Also, don’t miss this Bing Search Blog post about Bing’s new Snapshot feature, and be sure to watch the video below with Online Services Division President Qi Lu. Finally, check out today’s blog post on the Bing Summer of Doing.

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Microsoft announces availability of Windows 8 Release Preview. Microsoft announced on Thursday the availability of the Windows 8 Release Preview, the next milestone of the highly anticipated Windows 8 operating system. Now available for download in 14 languages at http://preview.windows.com, the Windows 8 Release Preview delivers a fast and fluid experience, along with a new user interface that responds equally well to touch as it does to keyboard and mouse. Since the February release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which was downloaded more than 1 million times in the first 24 hours, Windows 8 has become the most tested Microsoft operating system of all time, and with Thursday’s release, it enters its final phase of development before it releases to manufacturing. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center and a post from Windows and Windows Live Division President Steven Sinofsky on Building Windows 8 for the rest of the story. Below is a screenshot of the Windows Store in the Windows 8 Release Preview:

product_win8-store_Page

Xbox beyond the box. As you probably know, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) starts next week in Los Angeles. Just in case you missed it, check out this Tuesday post on The Official Microsoft Blog from Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing officer of the Interactive Entertainment Division, which raises the curtain on some of the news Microsoft will announce at E3. We kick things off on Monday, June 4 at 9:30 a.m. PT. You can watch us on live TV though our partnership with Spike TV, on the Web (Xbox.com), and for the first time ever – on Xbox LIVE.

Photosynth arrives on Windows Phone. Your phone’s camera just got a lot more exciting. Capping an impressive month for Marketplace, the free and much-anticipated Photosynth app for Windows Phone has arrived. Download it now. What’s Photosynth? Simply put, it’s a Microsoft technology for creating majestic 3D panoramas from plain old 2D shots. Although that summary doesn’t quite do justice to how magical Photosynth is. Marketplace is already home to several solid panorama apps. But as the Photosynth team notes on its blog today, there’s nothing out there quite like this: It’s the only mobile app that can piece together a full panoramic sphere (that’s 360 degrees horizontally and vertically.) For more on this story, read this Wednesday post on the Windows Phone Blog and this Wednesday post on Next at Microsoft. Below is an image taken using the Photosynth app:

Photosynth shot

Announcing Office 365 for Government. We’re pleased to announce some great news for government customers in the United States. First, we're introducing Office 365 for Government. Office 365 for Government is a new multi-tenant service that stores U.S. government data in a segregated community cloud. Like other Office 365 offerings, it includes productivity and collaboration services including Exchange Online, Lync Online, SharePoint Online and Office Professional Plus. Check out this Wednesday post on the Office 365 Blog for more detail.

Updates to the SkyDrive apps for Windows and Mac. We recently rolled out an update to the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone that fixed a few minor bugs, and we have a small bug-fix-only update to our iOS app on the way as well. We’re also starting to push updates to the SkyDrive apps for Windows desktop and for Mac, which will appear automatically on your PC or Mac over the course of the next week or so. You don’t need to do anything, as the updates occur automatically in the background. Mosey on over to the Inside Windows Live Blog to find out more about the update.

Microsoft strengthens commitment to addressing youth unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean. At its annual Government Leaders Forum – Americas this week, Microsoft strengthened its commitment to creating opportunities for young people in Latin America and the Caribbean in an effort to reduce youth unemployment in the region. The company detailed its participation in the recent launch of a new initiative, New Employment Opportunities (NEO), which aims to train 1 million youth throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region and place at least 50 percent of those youth in jobs during the next 10 years. You can find out more about the forum over on the Microsoft News Center and in this post and this post on Microsoft on the Issues.

Thanks for checking out the latest edition of Weekend Reading! Have a great weekend!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft