Software updates are now fully integrated with the Mac App Store and can be downloaded directly. Game Center is the same as on iOS. Gaming is becoming increasingly important on OS X and Game Center allows you to download games, play against friends and save your progress. AirPlay will allow Mac and iOS users to play against one another. Additional integration with Facebook includes being able to "like" individual games and challenge friends to beat your high scores. Mountain Lion extends the capabilities of Mountain Lion allowing the synchronization of documents too.
In addition, your Facebook friends' contact information and profile pictures will now appear in Contacts as well. Also new. Three clicks have been replaced by one. Final thoughts. It was followed by a faster and more subtly improved Snow Leopard Naturally, this increasing move towards iOS will delight those that love using their iPhone and iPad. Those that prefer their mobile device and Mac to be treated as mainly separate user experiences, may not be so enthusiastic but Mountain Lion provides some great new functionality and is well worth the upgrade from Lion.
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Or perhaps you've taken a funny picture with Photo Booth that you want to use as your Facebook profile picture. Then simply click the Share button, found in a wide range of apps, and select the network you want to send your content to. A pane appears with your content included, allowing you to add a message and post it. An additional feature, specific to Facebook, allows you to select which of your Facebook friends can see an update.
The new Notifications feature will also alert you to messages and other information from the social networks you're logged in to. And, from the Notification Center, you can quickly send updates to your social networks in a few simple clicks. Facebook integration also enhances your Mac's contacts list, pulling in the contact details for all of your Facebook friends as well as their profile picture, and adding them to your address book.
If a friend updates their contact information or profile picture on Facebook, your address book will also update so you've always got the right details stored. If you already have a Game Center account you can log in and access all of your game stats and high scores as well as view friend requests and receive game suggestions.
Games you've played on iOS devices will be listed as well as those you download from the Mac App Store, with a link within the app allowing you to view all available Game Center-compatible games. Game Center isn't just about tracking your gaming prowess, though; it also offers a route to quickly play games against friends or recommended opponents. Regardless of whether the other player is using a Mac, an iPad, an iPhone or an iPod touch, as long as they have the same game linked to their Game Center account you can play against each other.
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Head-to-head games, turn-based games and more are all available and game invites can be sent directly from Game Center to another user to challenge them to a game. If you receive a game invite, accepting it launches the game on your Mac automatically.
Game Center in Mountain Lion looks set to open up the fairly small world of Mac gaming to a whole new audience thanks to its cross-platform abilities, and there are sure to be a lot more iOS favourites heading to the Mac in the coming months. As you install more and more apps on your Mac, the number of alerts you receive also increases. One app needs a software update, another is alerting you to an incoming call and so on.
In Mountain Lion, the clutter of different notifications is streamlined and redefined with Notification Center. Notification Center offers a clutter-free way to alert you to all manner of events such as email messages, tweets and calendar alerts. Notifications from applications you've authorised appear at the top-right of the screen and can appear as banners or alerts.
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A banner appears and then disappears after a certain amount of time, whereas an alert stays on the screen until you dismiss it. Clicking on an alert takes you to the app from which it came and there are also alert-specific actions for apps like Calendar, where you can select options such as Snooze on the alert. You can view all of your notifications quickly and at any time using multi-touch gestures assuming you have a trackpad. You simply swipe two fingers from right to left to reveal Notification Center, which slides out from the side of your screen.