Microsoft today launched a new Windows 10 preview for PCs. The build includes a slew of improvements all over the operating system, both in terms of design and new features.
First up, Microsoft is reintroducing some Aero Glass elements in the user interface. The distinct look was introduced with Windows 7 but dropped in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
“We’ve also heard loud in clear that many Windows Insiders want to see Aero Glass from Windows 7 make a comeback,” said Gabriel Aul, the leader of Microsoft’s operating systems group’s data and fundamentals team. “We’ve been working out how to satisfy this request, and are trying some things out with this build to see how you like them.”
Aul explains that not everyone will see the return of Aero Glass, as Microsoft is running an A/B test with this build. Half of Windows 10 testers will see normal transparency on the Start menu and taskbar while the other half will see a blur effect. Microsoft will choose which one to make the default based on feedback it receives.
Next up, Cortana has received a visual refresh “that makes the experience feel more ingrained into the overall Windows experience.” Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of the operating systems group, showed off some of the changes at Build 2015 earlier today.
More to follow
In short, Cortana is more tightly integrated with the Start menu/screen. Searching for an app will bring up Cortana, the new Windows split view control has been added to Cortana’s left rail, and Cortana now provides navigation consistent with many other Windows first-party applications.
Better yet, Cortana has gained new features powered by Bing Instant Answers, meaning it tries to give answers while you’re still typing. There are 11 new functionalities:
- Weather — type “Seattle Weather”
- Finance — type “MSFT stock”
- Dictionary — type “define astounding”
- Calculator — type “48*92″
- Flight Status — type “UA 238″
- Reference — type “how tall is brad pitt”
- Showtimes — type “movies near me”
- Tech Help — type “memory in my computer”
- Time Zone — type “time in London”
- Unit Conversion — type “42 ft in meters”
- Chit Chat — type “tell me a joke”
Continuum is a Windows 10 feature that handles transitions between interface modes. Today we learned Continuum wouldn’t be limited to just convertible laptops and tablets, but was coming to smartphones as well.
Yet today’s build is for PCs. Continuum improvements thus include a simplified taskbar, general polish on snapping, and the option to adjust the size on the shared divider between two snapped windows.
More to follow
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