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CNET First Look
Xbox Live update (December 2011)The next Xbox Live update completely overhauls the Xbox interface and allows for Bing content search, cloud saving, and a much more streamlined design.
Hey, what's going on everyone? I'm Jeff (Bakalar?) for CNET.com. Today, we're gonna check out the brand new update for Xbox Live that's coming out on consoles December 6th. So as you can see, it is a complete overhaul of what we're used to seeing on Xbox 360 and Microsoft is actually calling this update the most important they've ever done. Pretty strong words but it's appropriate because they've completely redesigned everything here. Now, if you play with some Windows phones or you've checked out what's going to be planned in Windows 8. That same sort of styling, graphical interface what they're calling Metro has a very consistent and you know, recognizable theme throughout all these different platforms so they're putting it on Xbox Live as well. As you can see, they've taken all the categories that you can access on your Xbos 360 and made them horizontal on the top of the screen. So there is a (Bing screen?), home, social, video, games, music, apps and (??) that we're getting just 'cause we have it early and then the settings screen as well. So everything sort of has this tile sort of situation going on. Really nice to use, really easy to navigate. So when we first saw the new update. Microsoft said that it was heavily focused on voice and motion functionality which is why Connect plays a huge part in the new update. So through Bing Search, users can use their voice to search for any sort of content they would want to pull up on their 360. So if you wanted to search for a certain movie, the Bing Search will bring up every platform that that movie exists on whether it's a game, a music video, a piece of music, another video, a movie, anything and even search Net Flix and other apps that have that sort of search functionality built in. Xbox, Bing Star Wars. Things like Net Flix now allow you to search by not only the movie but by something like a director or actor. Xbox, Bing Martin Scorsese. So the entire interface is totally able to navigated through your voice. You don't even really need to use the controller. Only for certain specific things. Any of the tiles you see here can be activated using your voice. Xbox settings. So there's a lot of new functionality that are really cool about this update. Me personally, I'm very excited about the Cloud Storage Game Save. Players can now select the Cloud Storage Device as their save device when playing games. So you can switch consoles and not worry about having to grab a (thumb drive?), bring those game saves with you from each console that you play on. So that's really cool. I found that switching profiles is a lot quicker, smoother and cleaner this time around. I don't know if you've ever tried that before. When you bring your (gamer tech?) from one console to another. It's about a 15 minute process. Now, that takes a long time to do the first time around but as soon as you've done it once, switching back and forth is really quick and it's really a pleasure to use. So I guess, the social integration has been a major talking point about the new update. Microsoft was very positive about incorporating something called Beacon which basically allow you to set up given time schedules for a certain game with all of your friends. So instead of having to send out a mass e-mail or a mass text message, you can assign a beacon for certain game and then push that notification back out through social media sites like Facebook. So now, when you first open up the new dashboard update, you're not gonna see as many new (absence?) you might expect. But Microsoft said that they're going to roll them out on a weekly basis so definitely keep checking out those (apps?) sections. Also, there's app market places where you can browse new content and they're really trying to give the feel of that sort of experience of this whole eco-system, this whole market place experience similar to what they've done with the Apple app store and platforms like that. So that's it, the update for Xbox 360 2011, the final dashboard update of the year. There's a lot to explore so make sure you check it out when it hits your Xbox 360 console on December 6th. I'm just Jeff (Bakalar?) from CNET.com. Thanks a lot.