Microsoft Announces Updates For Virtually All Of Its Built-In Windows 8 Apps

Windows 8 will launch on October 26, but since it’s already available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, as well as through a free trial, it almost feels as though it’s out already. Before it officially puts its latest masterpiece into the hands of mainstream users, however, Microsoft will update virtually all of the built-in Metro-style apps that ship with the new operating system. These include SkyDrive, Mail, Calendar, People, Photos, Bing, Maps, News, Weather, Travel, Video, Music, Games and Finance (yes – Microsoft ships a lot of built-in apps with Windows 8).

The first app to be updated is the Bing app. That update is coming tomorrow and will bring richer search results for local content to the app, as well as Bing rewards integration and the ability to use the file picker to “select an image from Bing to use on your lock screen or in your other apps.”

The SkyDrive app, for example, will now allow users to search within SkyDrive and rename and move folders and files. The Mail app will get better IMAP support and the ability to accept or decline invitations in emails. The Maps app will get support for Microsoft’s Bird’s eye view and indoor maps and the Music app will now feature a SmartDJ tool.

The update to the News app is especially interesting, as it will now feature “additional news content from partners such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.” Content from these two newspapers, of course, generally resides behind a paywall and it’s not clear if Microsoft has struck a deal with them to allow its users to access this content without a paid account, through in-app purchases, or if this is just a limited selection of content.

You can find a full run-down of all the updates here.

All of these apps will be updated within the next three weeks before the official Windows 8 launch and will be available through the Windows Store. According to today’s update,