Before the fall dashboard updates arrives to Internet-connected Xbox 360s, Microsoft flipped the switch on updating its Xbox website. The homepage has been revamped to feature content in the “Metro”-style layout that is coming to Xbox and with Windows 8. The “My Xbox” section of the website has been renamed “Social” and this is the new destination where gamers will go to login to their Xbox Live profiles away from the their consoles. The updated Xbox Live portal is organized in four categories. Home gives gamers a quick glimpse at their recent activity, their friends’ recent activity, online friends, messages, Xbox Live events and related news. Friends provides a list of all your Xbox Live friends, online and off. In Messages you can read and send messages to your friends. And in the Activity section you can view your recent activity, out of your friends who recently played the games you did, and you can view all of your played games, achievements, and gamerscore information. Also in this section you can set Beacons, a marker that notifies your friends that you want to play a certain game with them. You can have up to three Beacons active at a time, and you can add custom descriptions. For example, you can set a Beacon for Halo 3 and add a description like “Let’s play from 7-10 PM.” No matter where you navigate in Social, your avatar will follow you, as will links to view your account, redeem codes, add Microsoft Points, view your Download Queue, and visit your profile. In addition to updating the My Xbox section of the site, Xbox Live members can now browse, preview, and download media such as movies and TV shows in a browser and this content will be attached to your Live account; this means that all downloaded media can be viewed on any PC, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone that your Live account is connected to. Check out the new Social portal at Xbox.com right now!
Following the tradition of selecting an annoying teen sensation to take over their website, Funny or Die has chosen Rebecca Black (of “Friday” fame) for this year’s April Foolery. The site is designed all around young Rebecca; there’s even a calendar explaining that Friday is the day to be “so excited”, that Thursday comes before it, Saturday is tomorrow, and Sunday comes afterwards. Speaking of the day that starts the week, there’s a new featured trailer starring Rebecca called “Sunday Comes Afterwards” that’ll surely bust your gut with pain. And then there’s the excruciating “Which Seat Should I Take” PSA. There are more than a handful videos featuring Rebecca and you’ll find them all starring you in the face when you load up the redesigned site. But first, make sure you check out the video embedded above. In it Rebecca Black analyzes the lyrics to the genius song that made her popular in the first place. “Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal. That line is about consumerism. I gotta have my bowl, I gotta have my cereal.” And who knew they were so politically-bent? “The choice between the front seat and the back seat is actually a metaphor for American foreign policy.”
In honor of April Fools Day the team at Hulu has redesigned the video streaming website to show what it would have looked like if it existed way back in the dial-up days of 1996. Notice the basic text, HTML frames, the page counter (stuck at 54), a “Sign our Guestbook” button (that brings you to the Simpsons episode “April Fools Origin”), shoutouts to Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, and the currently under construction Geocities neighborhood notice. Shows like The X Files and Sliders take center stage at the top of the page. And I won’t tell you what happens when you go to play a video. Find out for yourself at Hulu.com.
Another day, another Facebook revamp–am I right? Though most people love to share their gripes about Facebook’s incessant need to change the way it looks, this particular change to our profile pages is actually (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) a good one. Read on to find out why.
When you receive the profile page update and head over to your page, the first change you’ll notice is up top where your name is located. Tabs are gone (they’ve been moved to the left-side pane, but more on that later) and under your name now you’ll find “a quick summary of who you are”, as Facebook so eloquently describes it. What looks like a jumble of words at first is actually a list of key information pertaining to you. For example, if you provide info. like your relationship status, where you go to school and what you’re studying, where you live, where you’re originally from, where you work, what languages you speak, and your birthday–all of this will be listed under your name and viewable by friends. Directly beneath this “about me” section is a collection of recently tagged photos featuring you. Keep in mind these highlighted photos are static; you cannot change the order of them. All you can do is tap a small “x” to hide a particular recent photo and it will be replace by the next most recent tagged photo. Pretty cool way to “show what you’ve been up to lately”, I guess. READ MORE Your Facebook profile page is about to receive yet another facelift→
You ever notice that Google’s myriad of doodles almost never port to Google.com when you’re accessing the search site on your cell phone? Well those days are over people. This week Google announced that they’re bringing the doodles initially to Android (2.0 and higher) and iOS (3 and higher) devices worldwide. So now when you see an awesome or interesting Google doodle on your desktop at home, you can expect to see it on your mobile device, too. Now we can become sleuths on-the-go!
Xbox’s Major Nelson announced that Xbox.com will be undergoing a “massive facelift” tomorrow evening. Besides the UI overhaul, the redesign promises to include support avatar customization and Windows Phone 7 games support. Straight from the source:
Browser based Avatar editor: Edit your avatar and preview avatar items before purchase
Combined views for messages, friend and game requests
Improved notification of your account subscription
Leverage Family Reports to understand what your family is doing and how they are using LIVE
Play web games with your Xbox LIVE friends on the web or on Windows Phone 7
Marketplace: More powerful search and more intuitive ways to browse and filter
The website will be down for maintenance tomorrow, October 20 at 5PM ET and when it comes back you can expect to explore all these exciting new features. For now, look in the gallery below for a sneek peek.
This week Google pushed out the most significant overhaul of Google Images since it was introduced way back in 2001. The instantly recognizable cosmetic changes? The portal has gone textless, opting for a tiled layout with instant scrolling. When you input a keyword, Google will present 1,000 related images to you, allowing you to instantly scrub through the content without the hastle of clicking through various pages. Since the text is gone, larger thumbnail previews result. Where’d all the text go, you ask? If you hover over a particular image, a “hover pane” will pop up and show you the image size, name, source, and Google’s “similar images” option. When you click an image you are brought to a new landing page; the image will be produced on top of its source’s website. When you click anywhere outside the image it disappears and reveals the source page so you can see exactly where it’s coming from. Optimized keyboard navigation and Image Search Ads round out the updates. Google is rolling out the new interface worldwide over the course of this week. Check in now to see if you’ve got it.
Today Twitter pushed out a redesigned homepage. It’s definitely more effective than previous implementations due to its friendly nature that will likely appeal to non-Twitter users who are looking to find out more about the community. Trending topics and hashtags scroll along the top; what’s prominent now are the “see who’s here” and “top tweets” sections. These sections give visitors a sense of who is adding to the conversation and what‘s being talked about in a bit more detail. Twitter explains:
With the new design, we’re intentionally featuring more dynamic content on the front page, revealing a sample of who’s here, what folks are tweeting about, and the big topics that they’re discussing. The homepage now features a set of algorithmically-selected top tweets that automatically appear every few seconds. It also highlights a random sampling of suggested sources; hover over any of them to see a profile summary and their latest tweet. Trending topics now scroll across the page, allowing us to present a large set of trends using little page real estate. Hovering over some of these trends will show a description explaining why the keyword is (or has recently been) popular.
Now if there was only a way to get rid of all things Justin Beiber.
Facebook lite is basically a stripped down version of it’s more encompassing counterpart. Facebook says, “Facebook Lite is a faster, simpler way to keep in touch with your friends. If you like it, you may choose to use it instead of the regular Facebook.” By simplerthey mean dumbed down. The site is literally a bare-bones version of Facebook that will allow older folks and younger kids (why are they even registered on Facebook, anyway) to join in on the fun that is social networking and such. The site is easier to navigate with larger buttons and less clutter. However, features are missing from the standard Facebook website and it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth doing away with functionality for simplicity. Check it out for yourself at http://lite.facebook.com/.