Microsoft today revealed some of the changes that will be coming to the built-in Metro-style apps in Windows 8 between now and the product’s October 26 launch. As you may recall, Windows 8 will be continually updated over time, and one of the big ways that will happen is with these new apps.
“We’ve been busy since August adding new features and improving the apps that come with Windows and will be updating these apps before general availability,” Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky wrote to the first new post to the Building Windows 8 Blog in a month. “We’ll introduce new features, improve performance, and increase reliability.”
Here are the updates you can expect over the next three weeks or so:
SkyDrive. Search within SkyDrive, rename and move folders and files, new first-run experience, and custom sort order.
Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging. Conversation view in Mail inbox, complete IMAP account support in Mail, accepting and declining invitations in Mail, capturing and updating your account picture in People, improved search, and contact search in Messaging.
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, and 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, and 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, and 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, and 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, slideshows, and news videos.
Sports. Additional news and magazine content, sports videos, slideshows, and 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, and interactive 360-degree panoramas (gyroscope supported).
Weather. Improved default location usability, hourly weather forecasts up to 10 days, day and evening high/low temperatures, and video.
Video. Purchasing in local currencies, closed captioning, and search by actor or director.
Music. Expanded music services (including Xbox Music Pass), rich "Now Playing" experience, and SmartDJ.
Games. Exciting new games, in-game purchasing, and invites and turn notifications.
Rafael and I will be documenting these and other post-RTM changes to Windows 8 in a series of articles called Beyond the Book. More soon.