In the coming days, the familiar "My Xbox" section of Xbox.com is going away, replaced with an update that will make it even easier to see what your friends are doing on Xbox LIVE.
My Xbox is being superceded by the new "Social" section, which lets you see at a glance what your friends are up to and also gives you early access to the new Beacons feature, which lets you mark games you want to play with others, making it easier to find friends who want to play the same games.
Microsoft has also more site enhancements on the way, including the ability to search the Zune video catalog and buy/rent movies and TV shows right from your browser.
At the top of the social page, you'll a group of tiles and links to Xbox LIVE events, previews of the hottest new items on Marketplace, new video and game releases, Gamer Spotlight, and more. To the left of these are quick links that show you how many friends are online, and how many messages you currently have.
Below your avatar you'll find links to common tasks, such as viewing your Profile, redeeming Xbox LIVE Marketplace codes, and checking your Download Queue. The Friends Activity column shows you the popular games that your friends have been playing, who is playing those games right now, and who else has played them recently. In the right-hand column, you can see the games and applications you've most recently loaded, as well as how many friends are playing them, and below that, you can view a list of your online friends and what they're currently doing.
The new Activity page includes the titles you've most recently played and which of your friends are playing them as well, in addition to any titles you've set a Beacon for. To set a Beacon for a title that you want to play with others, you'll just find it in your activity list and click the "Set Beacon" button. You can have up to three Beacons active at a time, and you can optionally add a custom description.
Click a title and you'll be taken to a page that shows your achievements and which of your friends have also set Beacons for that game. Below the Beacons you can see anyone who's online playing right now, and others who?ve recently played it. You'll also be alerted to friends playing titles that you've set a Beacon for on your Xbox 360, but that won't happen until after the next System Update goes live. However, Windows Phone users will be able to see Beacons under the Xbox LIVE Requests section right away.
There's other new functionality available from the new Social page, including a revamped Messages section, and the ability to visit friends' profiles to see the Beacons they've set.
The update will also add other new functions to the site, such as a new Video section that lets you browse the Zune video catalog and purchase movies and TV shows to watch later on your Xbox 360, Windows Phone, or Zune media player.