Late yesterday Windows Blogger Brandon LeBlanc posted about the built in Windows 8 Modern Music App receiving a set of updates this month that enhances the UI, discoverability of the search feature in the app, fixes some bugs and adds performance enhancements under the hood.
In that post he links to a post about these updates at the Xbox Wire news site and below is a quick summary of the main changes you will see.
The first time you start the updated app a banner will display across the screen to remind you that you get 10 hours of free streaming per month and highlighting a new indicator in the apps preferences settings of how much free streaming you have left and when the counter will reset.
Here is the new free streaming indicator in the apps preferences settings. You can see the very visual indicator of how much streaming you have left as well as the reset date.
You now have a Search button in the top right of the main Music App window that gives an on-screen visual indicator of the search option in the app. This opens up the Windows Search pane directly and eliminates the need to swipe in to open the Charms Bar and tap on the Search Charm itself. These type of on-screen visual indicators appear to be a new norm in many of the built in Windows 8 apps.
Another new option is that you do not have to sign into the app to use it for some free music streaming. You will be able to listen to 15 songs at no cost to try the app and Xbox Music out. Once you do sign in the 6 months of free unlimited streaming counter begins and it is after that period you get dropped down to the 10 hours per month for free.
Of course you can listen to your own music collection as much as you like.
I found the app was much faster at incorporating my 4,543 song collection which resides on my Windows Home Server than the previous version.
With this update being released so close to the Windows 8.1 Preview, which is expected next week at Build, I wonder what updates will be in the app for that release.
I guess we will see soon enough as we are only four days away from the preview going public.
You can grab the update from within the Windows Store on our device or access it directly in the Windows Store via the web at Windows 8 Music App.
So are there other features you would like to see come to this app to make it even more useful?