Windows 8.1 Store update brings easier navigation and curated apps

The updated Windows 8.1 store makes it easier to find new apps to try.

The new and improved Windows 8.1 Store. Screenshot by Nate Ralph/CNET

Microsoft quitely revamped the Windows 8.1 Store on Tuesday with a host of changes designed to make finding apps a bit easier. According to the company's Windows Experience blog, the update is also aimed at making navigation a bit more mouse and keyboard friendly for those of us who aren't on touchscreen devices.

The most important change is the introduction of Collections, which are exactly what they sound like: curated collections of apps to hopefully solve (or at least mitigate) the app-discovery problem that's plagued Windows 8 and its Metro interface since inception.

Microsoft has done much of the legwork, placing a smattering up apps right in our faces and highlighting small developers as well as household names. This change won't solve the rather tepid reception some developers have had for Windows 8, but at least we'll have better luck finding new apps to try.

The older version shows off far fewer apps -- update today! Screenshot by Nate Ralph/CNET

Also new is the navigation bar that sits atop every page, offering links to the app charts, app categories, and aforementioned collections. It makes getting around the store dramatically easier -- especially if you're just browsing.

Publishers can now link their Windows and Windows Phone apps (when applicable), so buying it on one platform unlocks it on another. It's a voluntary decision on the app developer's part, but remains an awesome addition.

It's a nice touch, overall -- if you're running Windows 8.1 and don't have the new store yet, head over to Windows Update (just type "Windows Update" on the Start screen), and click "Check Now" to get that download started.

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