Microsoft updates Maps, Finance and Video Windows 8 apps

Last week, Microsoft released a new version of Bing Maps that was available only for people who downloaded and installed the Windows 8.1 public preview. Now it looks like Microsoft has released a new version of its Maps app for regular users of Windows 8 as well.

The change log for the Maps app shows quite a few new features that have been added, including venue maps, walking and transit directions, a way to find addresses from a user's contacts from inside the app, and a way to place favorites inside the maps. Other new features include finding new locations by category, improvements in navigation, and a way to report a problem with a map.

Microsoft has also released a new version of the Video app for Windows 8. The change log states, "When you buy a TV series, we’ll show your progress in a given episode and highlight the next episode to watch." The app also has a new way to access search from within the app as well as other unnamed UI enhancements.

Finally, the Finance Windows 8 app received an update today, but the page does not offer any information on what's been included in this new version.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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It's annoying when there's an update to an app, but no explanation of what's new. Is it that hard to update the change log on the app's description? I'd at least expect Microsoft to give us a head's up.

It also seems that the concept of the search charm (by means of accessing it) seems a bit ridiculous now that many of the new apps are putting their own interface for accessing in-app search. I guess the concept sounded good on paper, but didn't work so well usability wise. Plus, searching within an app required one extra gesture where you had to bring up the charms menu to initiate the search.

If there was just a simple hardware button (like Windows Phone - though it doesn't do it for in-app searches) I could see there not being much use in having an in-app search button/box taking up screen real estate. But with no easy-access hardware button, having to swipe or mouse over to bring up the search charm is more annoying I guess.