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Will Windows 7 change the web?

22. 12. 2008

My primary interest in attending the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, was to find out how Windows 7 would integrate with the web. During the 6 hour presentation I couldn't help but get sidetracked by the exciting up-coming features for the PC desktop.  The conference was packed with novel components, improvements on existing applications, and new goals.

"Life without walls" is the campaign slogan for Windows 7, which strives to achieve just that. Microsoft's goal is to bring the PC, the web, and today's mobile devices, into one.

New features include icon hovers for viewing your windows without having to open them, file previews, "jump list" within the task bar, simplified ability to drag and snap two windows beside each other and to add gadgets, such as a calendar or weather forecast, to desktop.  Also available is a desktop two-finger touch capability. Improvements have been made for connecting to other devices or computers and sharing data in different locations by simply hovering over an icon in the task pane.  The conference was jam packed with benefits, advantages, and indulgences of Window 7.

When people use the web for communication, 10% of that time is dedicated to social networking, 9% to emailing, and 13% to instant messaging.  Microsoft wants to bring all these web based communication tools to your desktop and to any device that's running Windows.

The objective is to synchronize email, instant messaging, photos, text, and social networking within the web, PC, and mobile device.  Your PC is to become the consol that connects all of these utilities.  If you want to use Flicker to store some personal images while keeping others on your phone or PC, Windows will tag all these utilities and help you synchronize them.  You may also want to store contacts, or want to post a message or article to your blog, Windows 7 will connect to these websites, devices, and PCs and update all of them. Bottom line, Windows Live would be a desktop application for managing these relationships.

As I understand it, Microsoft wants Windows to be the controller of all your systems.  You choose which device, mobile unit, PC, or website utilities you prefer and Microsoft will instruct the vendors on how to unite their software. You in turn will use Windows to manage and synchronize everything. Although the website or vendor name will be visible in a drop-down list, majority of the feature functions will occur behind the scenes.

On December 3, 2008 Microsoft released updates to Windows Live which allow you to add sites such as Twitter, WordPress, Flixster, StumbleUpon, Yelp, Flickr, Photobucket, TripIt and iLike to your profile.  More collaboration with other web companies is reported to be on the way. In which case, anything that you do on Windows Live will automatically update on your profile as well as throughout other services in Windows Live - if you choose to share with your network.

It will be interesting to see how well these different web applications will embrace Windows 7.  If they do, new features launched by other websites will need to ensure proper functionality with Windows.  Using Windows as the main controller means less visitors to independent website which could lead to dissipating opportunities for advertising revenue.  Will the trade-off be worth it for websites that rely so much on impressions and click-through? We’ll have to wait and see.

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