Microsoft outlines Windows 8 search improvements

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Microsoft has detailed some of the improvements they have made to search functions in Windows 8. Program manager for the search, view and command user experience team Brian Uphoff authored the post on Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog which focuses on built-in search capabilities for files, settings and apps that complement existing Windows 7 search features.

The first step in updating search in Windows 8 was to uncover what Windows 7 users searched for the most. Telemetry data showed that 67 percent of all queries in Windows 7 were used to find and launch programs. Locating files accounted for 22 percent of searches and control panel features were the target 9 percent of the time.

As such, search results in Windows 8 will be primarily grouped into three system categories – Apps, Settings and Files. Separating results into these groups allows Windows 8 to tailor the experience for each data type. For example, the File search offers search suggestions and filters while typing to complete your query.

With Windows 8, Microsoft expects users to install more apps than ever before. The goal is to make the app search process as easy and seamless as possible.

“In Windows 7, the total number of results that could be shown in the Start menu was limited,” says Uphoff. “With Windows 8, on the other hand, we’re following an app-first model, where each app developer understands their data and users best, and knows the best way to present the information to them.”

Other key changes include removing email messages and contact information from search results. Research showed that less than 0.05 percent of users would query these types of data. Other changes include a set of keyboard shortcuts to help users get to specific search categories quickly.

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