Steam gets massive beta release

PC gaming behemoth Steam has rolled out a massive update to its desktop client, bringing a wide range of social features and a browser based on the Webkit engine used by Safari and Chrome. It's still a beta, though, so you'll have to opt in to get access to the extended features.

The new interface is focused around the people you've set as your friends. Your game library shows which of your friends play a particular game, the store shows which of your friends already own a game you're thinking of buying, and at the bottom of store pages it'll intelligently recommend you other titles based on what other games your friends have recently been playing.

Recent achievements gained and purchases made show up in a news feed of sorts, and you can also now sort games into categories of your own choice. There's a new downloads view (to find out why a particular game has suddenly stopped downloading), and there's more detail on the status of games that support Steam Cloud.

On top of all of that, the interface has been completely redesigned with prettier fonts, graphics and big pictures of games. To opt-in, head to settings > account, and click the "change" button next to beta participation. Select "UI update" from the drop down menu, and hit "OK", then restart Steam.