Microsoft is now at the home stretch for Windows 8 and here in our office, we took the beta version for a spin and we think that this operating system has a lot of potential.
While the OS has been getting a lot of criticisms lately, we’d like to share with you the things that we do found interesting in it – and just reserved the bad reviews to others because there are sadly, a lot of frustrations going on out there from Windows 8 beta users.
First, we do like the Metro interface which comes at app icons. Live tiles are actually useful, updating the stock ticker concept for a modern, mobile world. You can create tiles for individual e-mail accounts, or follow updates from specific contacts, and it presents a nearly non-existent learning curve.
Second, the semantic zoom or the ability in Windows 8 to access different levels of content via zooming. On the Start screen, zooming out gives you a bird’s eye view of your tile groups. In an app, you can zoom out to see different kinds of related content — in the Bing Travel app, you’ll see categories like Today, Featured Destinations, Panoramas, and Articles.
Picture password has never failed to impress. Everybody loves it. You create a series of gestures on a photo of your choice, and use those to login instead of a typed password. It’s an obvious win for touch-screen devices, and you can choose the photo from almost anywhere — your Facebook account, SkyDrive, Flickr, or locally stored.
The three S’s: search, sync, and share provide a solid skeleton to hang much of your Windows 8 activity on. Search is intuitive, and although the search tool lives on the Start screen, it lets you drill down into Apps, Settings, or Files with ease.
Sync will synchronize enormous chunks of what you do in Windows, from browser history to settings to apps. Share lets you share content across apps with little effort, powered by Microsoft’s innovative Share API. App makers only have to code for that API, and other apps will be able to “talk” to it for sending content.
A great example of this is the Evernote app, which you can now create a note from a Web page in only two taps.