Over the last couple of days Microsoft has been finalizing everything necessary to deliver the Windows 8.1 update electronically to everyone currently running Windows 8 on their devices.
Part of that prep is all the backend work necessary to deliver the update through the Windows Store but Microsoft has also published a series of blog posts from various members of the Windows team. These blog posts highlight several areas in the new Windows 8.1 to increase our familiarity with the new features and capabilities.
Here is a quick rundown of those blog posts:
Windows 8.1: Best Experience of Your Web with Sites and Apps together (Blogging Windows) – This blog posts focuses on the IE11 experience in Windows 8.1 and how it has been better integrated into Snapped Views in different apps, Reading Mode, Live Tiles for websites and its ability to work well with a traditional mouse and keyboard or on a touch device.
SkyDrive and Windows 8.1 (Blogging Windows) – The integration of SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 takes things to an entirely new level. The line between what is in the cloud and what is on your desktop in Windows 8.1 is now blurred to a point where it is mostly seamless. There is also a video posted that talks about these changes at the Inside SkyDrive blog.
Engineering Xbox Music for Windows 8.1 (Blogging Windows) – Xbox Music was not what everyone expected or wanted when it came out in Windows 8 last year. The updates to Xbox Music in Windows 8.1 bring us much closer to that vision. It still has some areas for improvement but the difference between this version of the app and last years is huge.
Building Bing Smart Search for Windows 8.1 (Blogging Windows) – Another area in Windows 8.1 you will notice significant changes around is search. It is still all integrated like it was in Windows 8.1 but now it includes an extensive set of Bing results if you want access to it. The experience of viewing those search results is just like being in a Windows Store app and is well connected into the search tool.
Right from the Start: Apps for Creative Expression (Windows Experience Blog) – The built in apps for Windows 8.1 have had some serious overhauls and really increase their usefulness. Not only do we have the built in apps we first saw last year with Windows 8 but there are even a new one called Movie Moments. With that app, an almost Modern version of Windows Live Movie Maker, you can create and enhance 60 second video clips for sharing.
One experience for everything in your life (Blogging Windows) – This post is from Terry Myerson the Executive VP for the Operating Systems Group at Microsoft. It is a summary with links to all of the above posts but he starts off talking about the smiles and excitement from the folks who built this update. You know as we sit on this side of things and critique and talk about what we see from Redmond it is important to remember that they are real people, just like you and me, with families that put huge efforts into this kind of work.
Good luck with your install and update to Windows 8.1.