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Xbox One November Update Adds Custom Backgrounds, New Trending Feature

Coming off the release of the Xbox One October update several days ago, Microsoft has taken to detailing next month's update, which is currently rolling out to select members that have opted into the Xbox One preview program.

Similar to last month's update, the November update will also add a host of new updates and features, with the most notable coming in the form of custom backgrounds. You may recall that Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced the highly-requested feature last week, though neglected to offer details on a release window. Turns out, those that aren't part of the preview program will only have to hold out until sometime next month.

Custom backgrounds will be available to all accounts on an Xbox One system, and users can choose a custom color or "achievement art" as the background. Location and a brief bio can now be added to the Gamer Profile, as well as several showcase items that others can see upon viewing other players' profiles. Now, while the customization options may sound a bit lacking, there's no need to worry. Microsoft reassures that more such options are set to come later. Perhaps they'll even be implemented before the November update releases for everyone.

The update will also introduce a new trending feature to Xbox Live --complete with a new OneGuide tab-- that aims to help people discover new shows. Based on what the rest of the Xbox Live community is watching, the top 20 most-watched TV shows will be sorted through and filtered down using the user's own OneGuide settings. The aforementioned new tab displays the Live TV shows trending at that moment, based on the amount of Tweets made discussing it, and the amount of Xbox One users currently tuned in.

Background settings on Xbox One

This is on a country-by-country basis, of course, so if, say, Dr. Who is trending in the U.K., you probably won't see it if you live in North America. Additionally, if you're a big Twitter junkie, you'll be able to see all the Tweets regarding whatever Live TV show in real-time using the MiniGuide.

Also, since preview members get the first crack at the update, the total number of tweets and Xbox Live users may seem lower than usual. That said, there's no telling just how many people managed to get into the preview program, but expect more and more people to try to get in now, thanks to Microsoft now enabling people to earn points for taking part and offering feedback.

The update even adds a full-on leaderboard that shows how you measure up against your friends that are also in the program because, apparently, making the Xbox One a better system by testing upcoming features wasn't enough of an incentive.

Xbox One's Live TV on Xbox

There's more packed into the November update, believe it or not. Navigating through the store has been sped up, allowing for faster searching, and store categories have been simplified to show the top items and possibly influence your purchasing decisions. SmartGlass, meanwhile, can now show you what games your friends are playing, though its most interesting addition has to be the Xbox Live Gold member exclusive ability to browse through the Games with Gold list. A new Apps section and being able to download apps to the Xbox One from wherever you are to be is a close second, though.

Finally, Internet Explorer gets some attention this time around as well. From the address bar, the browser can now be moved into snap mode, and it will also show a number when something new is added to the Featured Sites pages. Sites that were recently added will display a badge until viewed, or after a week has passed. If you needed more of a reason to check the same sites over and over, getting rid of those silent notifications seems like a decent enough reason.

At this point, it's pretty clear that Microsoft wants to keep the momentum going when it comes to issuing new updates and proving they listen to community feedback. The more interesting part is just how fast the turnaround time was between announcing custom backgrounds, and letting people try it for themselves. Screenshots support wasn't mentioned today, but expect to hear more about that as we move closer and closer to the update's public debut.

For those of us that aren't in the preview program, at least we have the above video to see what's what.

Source: Major Nelson

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