Microsoft: Let's Talk Windows 8 Start Search

Pulkit Chandna

The Windows engineering team continues to detail changes in Windows 8 one blog post at a time. The latest Building Windows 8 blog post once again turns the spotlight on the Start screen , which has already attracted a “ton of [critical] interest” from users. If the previous posts focused on the evolution and design of the Start screen in the upcoming operating system, the latest delves into the design of the Start screen’s integrated search feature.

The search feature in Windows 8 is designed to make better use of screen real-estate and the results are no longer limited by the size of the Start Menu: “The Windows 8 Start search experience builds on top of search features available in Windows 7 and provides a unique view for each of the three system groups - Apps, Settings and Files. Separating the search results into views means we can tailor the experience for each data type. For example, the File search view provides you with filters and search suggestions while typing to quickly complete your query.”

So when you wish to search for an item from a particular system group, say Apps, you can easily limit the results to that system group alone. This is a departure from the integrated search feature in Windows 7’s Start Menu, where the various data types have to share what is very limited real estate.

Like the rest of the operating system, search too is being shifted to an app-first model. As MS believes “people will be acquiring and installing more apps than ever before,” it has gone with a new approach, one which focuses on giving the user more “precision and control over the type of results you’re looking for.”

Lately, Microsoft has come under a lot of flak from certain quarters for adopting what these critics feel is a way too tablet-centric approach. The post’s author Brian Uphoff, who is a program manager on Microsoft’s Search, View, and Command user experience team, made a conscious effort to reassure keyboard-pounding desktop users that Start search has been designed with them in mind.

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