An update to Microsoft's Xbox Live service is being rolled out from today, with plans to reach every user in the world by 26 October.
The update will include several new features, including an Xbox based version of Internet Explorer and, eventually, integration with Microsoft's Smart Glass technology, which allows users to control their Xbox 360 using a Surface tablet or Windows Phone 8 smartphone.
Writing on his blog, Director of Programming for Xbox Live Larry Hryb, better known by his gamertag 'Major Nelson', explained how the new update will be deployed:
"Today we're starting to roll out the official release of the update to Xbox LIVE subscribers around the world. To ensure a stable release, this will be a gradual deployment across subscribers and regions over the course of the next week. Our initial deployment will reach approximately three million consoles worldwide, with additional users being updated over the course of a couple weeks. Don't panic if you don't see an immediate update, just keep checking back in."
Hryb's blog also listed details of all the new, upcoming features:
- "Refreshed Xbox 360 Dashboard. We've updated the UI with a few things, including an updated layout with more tiles, a combined TV & Movies channel and, in the US, a Sports destination.
- Internet Explorer for Xbox. With Internet Explorer on Xbox, you can easily find and view internet content on the biggest screen in the house, including HTML5 videos.
- Recommendations and Ratings. Recommendations will allow you to discover new favorites, generated based on a number of variables including the content you previously viewed, what your friends are consuming and what is most relevant and popular with our Xbox community. You can now rate content yourself and also see Rotten Tomatoes ratings.
- Pinning. Pinning lets you personalize the dashboard by saving your favorite movies, TV shows, games, music, videos and websites right to the home screen. It's as easy as opening an app or a favorite movie and clicking "pin."
- Xbox Video. Formerly called Zune Video Marketplace, Xbox Video offers hundreds of thousands of TV shows and movies for buying or renting in instant HD streaming.
- Recent. Previously called Quick Play, the Recent view gives you a list of movies, games, apps or other types of content that you most recently accessed on the console.
- Enhanced Search. The last Xbox LIVE update brought Bing voice search to Xbox so you could use voice to search for movies, TV shows, actors, directors and artists. This year we added genre search to the list, so now you can search for action, comedy, romance, drama or sci-fi. Bing voice search now includes results for video across the Web, including YouTube.
- International Expansion of Voice Search. We've expanded our Kinect voice search capabilities to 9 new countries - Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Ireland."