Xbox One August Update Detailed; New Friends Section of Home Screen Coming

New Facebook-style features, a way to turn off notifications while watching video, and more coming next month.

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Microsoft today outlined the changes the Xbox One's August system update will introduce, as well as a new, still-in-development feature that will allow you to easily keep track of your friends.

Xbox One owners who have elected to receive updates early will find themselves with a new update to try out sometime next week. It includes an addition to the home screen you see when first booting up the console. By scrolling to the right, you'll see how many friends you have online, what they're doing, what games are popular among your friends, and a leaderboard tracking who's earned the most gamerscore (from unlocking achievements) in the last 30 days.

This addition will be available as an "extended preview," according to Xbox engineer team member Richard Irving. It will "stay in preview until our preview audience has given us the feedback and we've had a chance to digest and respond to it, so when it's generally available, it's exactly the way we want it.

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Chief among the features being added in the August update that everyone will receive next month are new, Facebook-style options you'll have when viewing the redesigned activity feed. The feed has been condensed into a single column, and by highlighting any item, you'll be able to "like" it or comment on it. In the case of recorded game clips, you'll be able to share these videos in your activity feed or send them in a direct message to other Xbox Live users. Additionally, Xbox Live profiles will be updated with an activity feed showcasing what that person has been up to.

Also new is the ability to make purchases from Xbox.com and the SmartGlass app. Provided you have the proper options enabled--you'll need the 'Xbox on' and 'Automatically download updates and purchases' items checked in the system's Power & Startup settings--anything you buy when away from the console will be automatically downloaded to the system.

Other additions include a low battery notification for when your controller needs to be charged or its batteries need to be replaced, support for 3D Blu-rays, an option for disabling notifications when watching video (located in the Preferences area of the system's settings), and an indication of when friends were last online and what they were doing.

With this update, we're beginning to see features suggested through Xbox Feedback--the website launched last month allowing fans to submit and vote on ideas they want to see--implemented by Microsoft. Low battery notifications and 3D Blu-ray support are two ideas that have been among the top vote-getters on the site.

It's good to see Microsoft continue to roll out regular updates, especially considering how long we used to have to wait between major Xbox 360 updates. What do you make of these new features, and what would you still like to see added to the Xbox One? Let us know in the comments.

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