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Has app search gotten worse in Windows 8.1?

windows 8.1 search charms

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#1 SekaiStory

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 17:56

I've been using the Windows 8.1 Preview and liking it, but noticed that the flow of doing a search in an app has changed. When searching for something in an app, Windows 8 would launch an app-specific search results page. In 8.1 it launches the Bing search results page. Say I'm looking for a mail, I can't find it straight away using Search from the Charms. I have to click the drop-down and select the current app, like so (picture shows MetroTwit):

 

9az.png

 

I guess Microsoft wants developers to have a visible search box, like how they did with the Mail & Store app. Still it bothers me for apps like MetroTwit (and many others) that don't do this. It took me some time to figure out the drop-down, and it still is an additional step for something basic like finding an email or searching tweets in a Twitter app.  

 

Now you have to open an app first and then perform a search, you have to know what app you need to be in. In Windows 8 you could enter a search term anywhere, and easily jump around between apps by clicking on them in the right-hand list. Seeing a new word, type it in the search box, click on a translate app to translate the word, click on the Wikipedia app to learn more about it, click on a Twitter app to search tweets about that word, those things all went very smoothly in Windows 8. in 8.1 I have to find the app, perform the Search, select the app from the drop-down, go back to start, open another app, perform the search again, select the app from the drop-down, and on.

 

On an additional note, the Windows Store doesn't even list the app in the Search drop-down, you have to use the search box in the app. (again no big deal but my brain is hardwired to go to the Search charm by now). I feel like the Search charm is being downplayed to be used only for files, settings and web results and not for individual apps. (I really loved having an app list all the time when doing a Search in Windows 8 and easily search around between apps)

 

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#2 BajiRav

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 18:01

By default yes, but I think one of settings allows you to go back to 8.0 style. I am at work and can't check right now.



#3 jakem1

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 18:21

I haven't played around with 8.1 yet but I think the inclusion of search boxes in apps is a step backwards.  The Search charm was supposed to help eliminate unnecessary clutter and provide a unified search mechanism and it is a shame to lose that.



#4 MFH

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 18:43

Completely agree! The new search boxes are definitely a step backwards. What's next? Will they reintroduce dedicated printing, sharing and setting buttons too?



#5 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 18:56

I haven't played around with 8.1 yet but I think the inclusion of search boxes in apps is a step backwards.  The Search charm was supposed to help eliminate unnecessary clutter and provide a unified search mechanism and it is a shame to lose that.

But the Charm Bar functionality on PC is horrible - even on tablets it's little better. People are used to having a search box in applications and on websites. With the Charm Bar you have to a) trigger the Charm Bar, b) select the search button, and c) type in your search string - the process requires two extra steps and more involved user input, ignoring the fact that the functionality is obscured.



#6 SierraSonic

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 19:04

I'm not using 8.1, thought I would prefer if search worked like this:

 

Depending on if you have an app open or not; searches within an app will show in app search results first, if to many things to list show up a button appears for more in app results. If you are on start screen or desktop then it searches like the windows 7 start menu did if too many results a button to search more appears. Even lower are a few online results with a button for more results.

 

There really only needs to be 2-3 tiers of search results.

 

Sidebar Search Results:

Local Current App

-1st result

-2nd result

-3rd result

-4th result

-5th result

-Button

 

Local System Files and Settings

-1st result

-2nd result

-3rd result

-4th result

-5th result

-Button

 

Internet (Bing or preferred provider)

-1st result

-2nd result

-3rd result

-4th result

-5th result

-Button

 

Done



#7 jakem1

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 20:12

But the Charm Bar functionality on PC is horrible - even on tablets it's little better. People are used to having a search box in applications and on websites. With the Charm Bar you have to a) trigger the Charm Bar, b) select the search button, and c) type in your search string - the process requires two extra steps and more involved user input, ignoring the fact that the functionality is obscured.

 

I don't think it's horrible at all and it's actually quite natural on a tablet given that it's only a swipe away with your thumb.  If a couple of clicks is a problem for you then the easiest way to activate in-app search is to type WINKEY+Q and just start typing.

 

What people are used to isn't a great argument because they could just as easily become used to using the search charm.  I think Microsoft probably agree that it's obscure location is the problem which explains why they're taking this backward step.  I think they should simply have done more to educate users, even if that means having a search button that activates the charm when clicked (similar to the current Mail app) rather than a whole search box taking up on-screen space unnecessarily.



#8 jamwheat

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 20:27

Using 8.0 on my desktop, and 8.1 on my laptop.  It took a bit, but it looks like the more you use search in 8.1, the more "refined" the search gets (especially for consistant program searches).  At least, that is what it seems like to me.  Still working with it though.



#9 grayscale

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 20:34

I was just talking about this on @theyarecomingforyou's thread. I don't know why they changed the Win+Q to searching 'Everything' when they already introduced Win+S that does the same thing. They should've kept Win+Q for the context sensitive search.



#10 +ians18

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:16

Win+Q opens settings search on 8.1.  I think in the drop down they should add "Search Apps" that would return to the windows 8 search. Then add the ability to pin an app like Store to the dropdown menu. There is a bug on windows 8.1 when you click on the user tile then click again the background is still highlighted around the username and tile.

 

And can someone confirm this: On Windows 8 it used to allow you to right click a network connection  and click things like properties. It seems that the functionality has been removed in 8.1.



#11 Buendia

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 11:56

 

And can someone confirm this: On Windows 8 it used to allow you to right click a network connection  and click things like properties. It seems that the functionality has been removed in 8.1.

 

Yes, I think you're right. Maybe that's just specific to the Preview and will come back in the RTM.



#12 MikeChipshop

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 12:10

But the Charm Bar functionality on PC is horrible - even on tablets it's little better. People are used to having a search box in applications and on websites. With the Charm Bar you have to a) trigger the Charm Bar, b) select the search button, and c) type in your search string - the process requires two extra steps and more involved user input, ignoring the fact that the functionality is obscured.


I disagree, there's nothing wrong with it, just needed people to get used to it.

#13 Dutchie64

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 12:20

True. It will make sense when people start using mutliple apps. Need to find something, hit the charm type and go.

 

You have to give MS some credit trying to standarize the more basic things in Metro. With a 'all fits all' panel, people will have less problem finding the basic things, like search, printing etc.

 

Now with desktop applications it can be all over the place, especialy when programmers don't take the basic rules in account for menu's.



#14 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 13:32

I disagree, there's nothing wrong with it, just needed people to get used to it.

I've been using it for over a year. When am I going to get used to it and start liking it?  :huh:





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