Microsoft reveals plans to update preloaded Windows 8 apps

Microsoft Windows 8 Updates

Microsoft (MSFT) this week revealed plans to update a number of Windows 8 apps that come preloaded with the software. In the coming weeks the software giant will update its Mail, Photo, Maps, SkyDrive, Bing, Finance, News, Sports, Travel, Weather, Video, Music and Games apps before the release of Windows 8 on October 26th. Microsoft says that it will be “taking advantage of the integrated way that we can deliver updates to apps through the Windows Store” so that users will “see performance and reliability improvements in the apps” and “some great new capabilities as well.”

“We’re super excited to be approaching general availability (GA) of Windows 8 and Windows RT. With thousands of new apps in the Store, there are a lot to choose from and tens of thousands of developers have been very busy around the world creating new apps,” Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live division, wrote on the company’s blog. “Across Microsoft we’ve been busy since August adding new features and improving the apps that come with Windows and will be updating these apps before GA. We’ll introduce new features, improve performance, and increase reliability.”

Microsoft’s update notes follow below.

SkyDrive

  • Search within SkyDrive
  • Rename and move folders and files
  • New first-run experience
  • Custom sort order

Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging

  • Conversation view of your inbox
  • Complete IMAP account support
  • Accepting and declining invitations in email
  • Capturing and updating your account picture
  • Improved search
  • Search for a contact within the Messaging app

Photos

  • Crop and rotate photos
  • New auto-curated collage slideshows
  • View photos and videos on network locations in your Pictures Library such as Windows Home Server, network shares, and HomeGroups
  • Move through photos in your Pictures Library even when you open them from the desktop

Maps

  • Bird’s eye view
  • 3,000+ indoor venue maps
  • Driving directions hints
  • Improved navigation and layout
  • Improved customization, including custom pushpins and roaming options
  • Integration with Bing and Travel apps

Bing

  • Richer search results for local content and images
  • Bing rewards integration
  • Use zoom on your search results to see related queries
  • Use the file picker to select an image from Bing to use on your lock screen or in your other apps

Finance

  • Additional news and magazine content
  • More market exchanges enabled
  • Finance videos

News

  • Additional news content from partners such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal
  • Enhanced article reader, including font customization, zoom, pagination, and more
  • Improved offline reading experience
  • News videos
  • Slideshows

Sports

  • Additional news and magazine content
  • Sports videos
  • Slideshows
  • New soccer leagues, including MLS, J. League, and Brazilian League

Travel

  • Additional news and magazine content
  • Improved flight search and new flight progress indicator
  • Improved hotel listing page
  • Interactive 360-degree panoramas (gyroscope supported)

Weather

  • Improved default location usability
  • Hourly weather forecasts, up to 10 days
  • Day & evening high/low temperatures

Video

  • Purchasing in local currencies
  • Closed captioning
  • Search by actor or director

Music

  • Expanded music services
  • Rich “Now Playing” experience
  • Discover more music with SmartDJ

Games

  • Exciting new games
  • In-game purchasing
  • Invites and turn notifications

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