Weekend Reading: Nov. 15th Edition– An exclusive look inside Microsoft’s new cybercrime-fighting HQ

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s digital detectives, the all-in-one Xbox One and Windows 8.1 updates on the Windows Store.

You got an exclusive look inside Microsoft’s new high-tech headquarters for the fight against cybercrime. Using speed and stealth, cybercriminals can infect millions of PCs with malware, turning them into a vicious zombie army mobilized to commit crimes like identity theft, financial fraud and worse. For years, Microsoft has helped lead the fight against cybercrime. Last summer, the company worked in parallel with the FBI to take down the massive Citadel botnet, which had infected 5 million PCs and stole about a half billion dollars from people and businesses. The company’s new Cybercrime Center in Redmond, Wash., which opened Thursday, will act as a new headquarters for similar collaborative efforts between Microsoft, law enforcement, customers and partners.

On Nov. 8, Microsoft unveiled the complete Xbox One experience – showcasing how Xbox One delivers the best games and multiplayer features, along with your favorite movies, music, sports and live TV experiences – all in one place. Some of the coolest new Xbox One features include voice-controlled play and search; being able to quickly jump from one experience to another – from a game to live TV, music, movies, sports, websites – and back again in seconds, just by using your voice; watching live TV; and being able to do two things at once using Snap, such as playing your game on the left-hand side of the screen, while on the right side Xbox One responds to your voice commands to show your friends’ activity feeds, watch ESPN or surf the Web.

In other Xbox news, save the dates for marquee Xbox One launch events, bid on a coveted white Xbox One console and check out a slew of game news. Major global launch events are scheduled in the hours leading up to the Xbox One’s release at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 22 around the world, and you are invited. Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson, aka Larry Hryb, is auctioning off a super-limited edition white Xbox One console, with all proceeds supporting the Wounded Warrior Project. Popular Science has named Kinect for Xbox One as one of the year’s “Best of What’s New” technologies. On Thursday, we saw the winners of the Upload Outreach Program, which asked contestants to create a one-minute video of any Xbox 360 or Xbox One game they love. From Nov. 16 to 17, “Battlefield 4” multiplayer is open to everyone (Xbox Live Gold and Silver members) on Xbox 360. Also on Thursday, Crytek and Microsoft Studios released a series of stunning “Ryse: Son of Rome” flythrough videos that showcase the game’s magnificent set pieces. Fans of the game who have been following its live-action original series, “The Fall,” can now watch the final two episodes. Finally, we saw two new classic tracks added to “Forza Motorsport 5” on Tuesday – Yas Marina and Le Mans.

With the release of Windows 8.1, we saw updates in the Windows Store, app development and Skype. In the Windows 8.1 update, you’ll see some changes to the Windows Store that make it easier to find apps you like. The Windows App Builder Blog reports that Windows 8.1 has added some new text features to help app developers. And though there are changes with Skype in Windows 8.1, use Skype’s Home screen as your compass. And here’s another fascinating development with Windows 8.1: a display that lets you wirelessly project to a big screen without dealing with proprietary technologies, network access and different display cables and adapters.

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For developers, seamlessly integrating Facebook Login overcomes a big consumer obstacle to trying out a new app – getting past the identity screen. Now, they’ll find Facebook login APIs on Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Phone 8 to help them. Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and chief evangelist for Developer Platform Evangelism, announced Thursday that as part of the company’s ongoing partnership with Facebook to support rich development scenarios, consumers will be able to “login to an app with a single click or tap, re-using the Facebook credentials stored on the device, share high scores and other app events to Facebook, engage in social interactions like playing games against friends or finding new opponents and easily access and share photos within the context of an app.” Facebook Login for Windows 8 is ready to use in production applications, and for Windows Phone 8, Facebook Login launched Thursday as a beta, which should last 60 days (or less).

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New and updated games and apps popped into the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. On Windows 8/8.1, you’ll also find the recently updated NOOK and the free “Hill Climb Racing.” Gameloft’s all-new “Asphalt 8: Airborne” is now available in the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. In this version of the racing game series, you can perform high-speed aerial stunts in your choice of 47 luxury cars. “Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call” is now available through the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store for at least two weeks before it’s released to other platforms. Also on Windows Phone devices, you now can shoot six-second videos to your heart’s content with the new App of the Week: Vine, and get up to speed on biz and tech news with the Staff App Pick: Business Insider. The free and new Xbox game for Windows Phone 8 devices, “Kingdoms & Lords, transports you to medieval times to take care of a kingdom and an army, while My Talking Tom places responsibility on a micro-level: your own virtual baby kitty to adopt, feed and raise into a cat.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we provided information on how to join Microsoft employees in their support of youth causes and be a Giving Hero.

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And that’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff