Microsoft has begun rolling out a new update to Xbox Live today that will add a plethora of new features and a better user interface, according to a post from Xbox Live's Larry Hyrb.
The update will be deployed gradually across subscribers over the course of the next week, with the initial roll-out reaching approximately three million consoles worldwide. If you don't see the update right away, don't worry about it – it will eventually make it to your Xbox 360 anywhere from today to a couple of weeks.
So what's new in this update? Well it offers an improved user interface which consolidates and organizes entertainment categories a little better, introduces the Internet Explorer browser on Xbox Live (with HTML 5 support), adds a recommendations and ratings system, the ability to "pin" your favorite content or games (kind of like with Windows 7's start menu), the introduction of Xbox Video (what used to be Zune Video Marketplace), Recent (an improved version of Quick Play), improved and enhanced search functionality, and an international expansion of Voice Search that supports 9 new countries – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Ireland.
Hyrb also said that SmartGlass support would be coming to Xbox Live after Windows 8 launches on October 26th.
"When the Xbox SmartGlass app launches on tablets, PCs and smartphones, it will include key foundational experiences for interacting with your Xbox 360, such as dashboard and app navigation and Internet Explorer control, like text input, scrolling and pinch and zoom," he said.