Latest Windows 8.1 build shows new search features, pulls content from the web

With the leak of Windows 8.1 build 9369 earlier today, there are a boatload of new features that have been uncovered that will bring new functionality to improve the user experience. Besides the new Files app and trackpad settings, there will also be enhancements to search on the platform as well.

Microsoft baked search deep into Windows 8 and it looks like they are about to take things one step further by integrating web content into search functions as well. Digging around in the Settings pane, you can see that there are new search options as well as web filtering options; the new feature will allow you to use suggestions from the web as you search on your machine.

Besides the obvious benefit of being tied into the web via your desktop, this will likely give Bing a considerable boost in searches. We will be curious to see if Microsoft will allow Google to get in on the desktop search action or if the company will keep this native search restricted to its Bing search service. 

As a reminder, Windows 8.1 will likely have a preview release at the BUILD conference in June with rumors suggesting that RTM will happen late in the Summer.

Source: AngleWZR on Twitter

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43 Comments

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Kelxin said,
Yea, more core features tied directly to the internet... that won't help virus creators or anything. LoL

HAHAHHAHAHAHAA

Is it just me or is Win8.1 what should have been out last October? I have Win8 running on my desktop and two laptops and generally like (it has its issues, lets be fair) but this "point 1" seems to be adding a lot of new features. More than just a service pack. It seems like this was the end game, but they just couldn't get it done in time.

Yes, it looks more like what Windows 7 did to Vista by the day. I hope all the leaked features so far will "stick" -- that would actually make Windows 8.1 a good dual touch/desktop OS we could use.

So the big question is: "When is a product "ready for primetime?"

What if MS would have waited for another half year before release? People would still complain about certain features being there or not. And complain about the removal of the start button.

You can't please everybody, and with a big release like W8 you're bound to stur some complaints.

I have no issues with W8 regarding the new start menu or the 'loss' of the start button, I've seen way to many OS's go by to be upset by some cosmetic changes and some changes in workflow.

It also seems I'm one of the few that enjoys the new start menu, and the Metro apps, next to the still available and more usefull desktop.

But for a large group of people MS will never do any good. There were massive complains on Windows for not being the right OS for tablets. (And MS started that route btw...)
Now that they added a layer for tablets, eveybody is complaining about that.
MS cannot seem to win this.

If you have some many dislikes about W8, don't use it and stick to W7, or move to OSX, Really.... No offence if you do, and not being sarcastic here either.

Sometimes there are changes to be made, and maybe W8 is the one for you to move on, and see if the grass on the other side is greener.

But keep remembering, it's just an OS and a brand, not a religious experience like a lot of people seem to think stuff like this is these days.

I installed this today and I don't see any difference in it from the 9364 build except it is x64 version. If I find anything new I will post

What are the "Use these to search" options cropped out? Google, Yahoo! and Bing? It looks like they can be turn on or off.

As much as i prefer Google as a search engine, i don't think MS should allow other search providers to utilise this, i think they should keep it as a fully baked in home brewed option so they can use and modify the results and keep 100% control over them.

Mikeffer said,
As much as i prefer Google as a search engine, i don't think MS should allow other search providers to utilise this, i think they should keep it as a fully baked in home brewed option so they can use and modify the results and keep 100% control over them.

Not only that, but if it's using web search to improve PC based search results (as I'm sure they are), no company would be able to do that on a Windows machine better than Microsoft. And if another search engine were used and returned poor results, Windows would be blamed.

M_Lyons10 said,

Not only that, but if it's using web search to improve PC based search results (as I'm sure they are), no company would be able to do that on a Windows machine better than Microsoft. And if another search engine were used and returned poor results, Windows would be blamed.

Exactly. Keep it in house, keep it deeply baked in, remain in full control.

Nothing about these builds are enough to pull me from Windows 7. I'm hoping these "straight to the desktop" and "start button" rumors are true.

JHBrown said,
Nothing about these builds are enough to pull me from Windows 7. I'm hoping these "straight to the desktop" and "start button" rumors are true.

Regarding the start button, are you among the users who stop their mouse right on the button, and then click, or do you just casually move the mouse into the corner, and then click?

Because I can understand your preference if it's the former, but the latter would mean there's would absolutely zero difference between your actions on Win7 or 8.

The majority of users will be disappointed by the 'Start Button' change. I bet most users are thinking the Start Button = Win 7 Start Menu, which IS NOT going to happen.

The only thing that will happen, is that the start button will be there, but then will just bring up the Start Screen when the user presses it.

This will be the NEXT complaint from these users. They will be like, oh, the Start Button you added is useless, b/c it still brings up the Start Screen.

Don't get my comments mixed up w/ me being for/against the Start Screen. I personally like it, but I don't understand why MS couldn't have implemented the OPTIONS for everyone who doesn't, heck, even leave everything as default, and those that 'dig deeper' could change things back if wanted.

greensabath said,
The majority of users will be disappointed by the 'Start Button' change. I bet most users are thinking the Start Button = Win 7 Start Menu, which IS NOT going to happen.

The only thing that will happen, is that the start button will be there, but then will just bring up the Start Screen when the user presses it.

This will be the NEXT complaint from these users. They will be like, oh, the Start Button you added is useless, b/c it still brings up the Start Screen.

Don't get my comments mixed up w/ me being for/against the Start Screen. I personally like it, but I don't understand why MS couldn't have implemented the OPTIONS for everyone who doesn't, heck, even leave everything as default, and those that 'dig deeper' could change things back if wanted.

Where exactly does one draw the line on what options to include or not?

JHBrown said,
Nothing about these builds are enough to pull me from Windows 7. I'm hoping these "straight to the desktop" and "start button" rumors are true.

Having been critical of this change myself, I can say after actually using it regularly that the Start Menu isn't that bad, and people really need to get over their aversion to change.

M_Lyons10 said,

Having been critical of this change myself, I can say after actually using it regularly that the Start Menu isn't that bad, and people really need to get over their aversion to change.

People dont mind change when it adds or improves upon what they already had.
Maybe someone should change your car's steering wheel to a touchscreen - does it make sense? who cares, don't complain, just "just get over it" and stop being "resistant to change"

This is a clear case of it wasn't broke and MS is trying to fix it - obviously to try to cheat/shortcut their way into relevance in the mobile market by creating the illusion that lots of people like and use Metro. Not working. All they're doing is alienating longtime windows users.

Edited by MVD, Apr 17 2013, 12:21am :

MVD said,

People dont mind change when it adds or improves upon what they already had.
Maybe someone should change your car's steering wheel to a touchscreen - does it make sense? who cares, don't complain, just "just get over it" and stop being "resistant to change"

This is a clear case of it wasn't broke and MS is trying to fix it - obviously to try to cheat/shortcut their way into relevance in the mobile market by creating the illusion that lots of people like and use Metro. Not working. All they're doing is alienating longtime windows users.

Wouldn't mind if the dash was changed into a touchscreen...

'IF Apple only includes Safari as the desktop browswer, isn't that anti-competitive behavior? I personally think that anything else is a better browser engine anyways!'
It's a MS product, can't see why they can't do as they please.

I agree w/ you based on principle, but according to US Law, MS has been classified as a Monopoly company, so different rules apply to it than 'regular' companies.

lctb51 said,
IF Microsoft only includes Bing as the desktop search, isn't that anti-competitive behavior? I personally think that Google is a better search engine anyways!

Time to generate fear with a new topic...


Besides, is it really anti competitive if the competition does not want to compete? Google has explicitly stated that they do not want to integrate with Win8. So if they do not want to be part of it, wouldn't Microsoft putting Google into Win8.1 search be using their services without Google's permission?

1) State you do not want to be part of Win8
2) Microsoft does/doesn't include you in Win8
3) Complain to the EU
4) -Profit!!!

greensabath said,
I agree w/ you based on principle, but according to US Law, MS has been classified as a Monopoly company, so different rules apply to it than 'regular' companies.

No longer true. That expired last year or the year before.

A browser is not the same thing as a search engine! By including only bing, it would be giving Microsoft a potentially competive edge, and google is by far superior in every possible field anyways! Who would search the web from a desktop search though? I usually go to IE and type in the google search bar!

lctb51 said,
By including only bing, it would be giving Microsoft a potentially competive edge, and google is by far superior in every possible field anyways!

Look at the bottom of the screenshot.. looks like you can pick sources. Let's not start a FUD campaign before any facts are even known.
lctb51 said,
Who would search the web from a desktop search though? I usually go to IE and type in the google search bar!

Why not? It's not a new feature anyway, you can do that in 7 now (federated search connectors), and it's not unique to Windows either, for example, Unity lenses. Just because you may not use it doesn't mean everybody else won't either. It's actually pretty damn handy depending on your needs.

Google filed an anti-trust case previously about the desktop search in Vista hence Vista SP1 allowing Google and others to tie into the desktop search.

I should think this one will be open to alternative search engines from the start.

n_K said,
'IF Apple only includes Safari as the desktop browswer, isn't that anti-competitive behavior? I personally think that anything else is a better browser engine anyways!'
It's a MS product, can't see why they can't do as they please.

but apple allows to install other browser but this wont even allow other search hence the debate.
damn chrome mobile for Android and iOS even have an option to change it to bing.
microsoft is yet again playing the dirty game.

"SafeSearch, with Strict, Moderate, Off" if MS is so innovative why did they rip that off verbatim from Google? Even Bing results page color scheme and format/layout is a direct Google rip - youd swear you were looking at google. Is that a viable strategy?

lctb51 said
.. google is by far superior in every possible field anyways!
I've had to use Bing before for searching (including one time just recently) and I was able to find what I was looking for on Bing just like I would have been able to do on Google.

MVD said,
"SafeSearch, with Strict, Moderate, Off" if MS is so innovative why did they rip that off verbatim from Google? Even Bing results page color scheme and format/layout is a direct Google rip - youd swear you were looking at google. Is that a viable strategy?

Uhh, is it more like Google's results page than Google's looks like AltaVista of the 90s?
http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Heal..._Health/Gifs/altavista2.gif

It's a page of blue links with summaries...

Of course, if you type in a query like "superman" - there's a lot more there, and they look quite different.

I hope they allow you to choose your preferred search engine (Google) or I will definitely turn this option off. I can't imagine that they won't give that option.

MorganX said,
I hope they allow you to choose your preferred search engine (Google) or I will definitely turn this option off. I can't imagine that they won't give that option.

Check the bottom of the image, "Use these to search" the use of the plural should imply that there will be multiple choices. Just my guess though....

MorganX said
I hope they allow you to choose your preferred search engine (Google) or I will definitely turn this option off. I can't imagine that they won't give that option.
As much as I'd rather choose Google over any other search engine, it wouldn't be the end of the world for me if I had to use Bing.