Microsoft posts, then pulls, videos showing interactive Windows 8 live tiles

The release this week of the Windows 8.1 Update added a number of new features to the OS, mostly for keyboard and mouse users. This week, the Microsoft Research team posted information about a project describing a possible future update for Windows 8 that involves interactive live tiles for its Start screen.

Unfortunately, the company has since pulled those pages from the Microsoft Research site, but Microsoft-News notes that WindowsBlogItalia has since uploaded the three videos that accompanied the pages to their YouTube channel. The first video shows a member of Microsoft Research Asia showing a demo of the interactive live titles. The titles can be touched to view and move an email message list in the Mail live tile, It also shows that even the desktop tile in the Start screen can be modified to show a clock, which programs are running in the desktop UI and more.

The second video shows off even more of the interactive live tiles, including how they can be expanded to show play lists, an actual working calculator inside the Windows 8 Start screen and more.

Finally, the third video shows how interactive live tiles could be used by a person at work with Windows 8. At one point, the person uses his Windows Phone and brings it to the monitor running the Windows 8 Start screen to bring up a message notification in the live tile inside the smartphone. It's currently unknown why Microsoft Research posted this information to the public site and then removed it.

Source: Microsoft-News and WindowsBlogItalia on YouTube

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I am a straight man who is secure enough to point out a handsome man. However, you and I must be looking at the wrong video. That Metro UI is kinda of cute though.

With this change, startsceen is going to become the "desktop" AND "startscreen" for metro environment.


Even though, win 8.1 u1 introduced universal apps, full merge wont happen until windows 9. That's when the interactive tile (4x6) can really be useful. It can replicate the mobile view directly. It should be possible to directly run a mobile app in that container without any porting etc.

For reference:
1x1 small
2x2 medium
4x2 wide
4x4 large
4x6 interactive

For some reason the most exciting thing in the video for me was that they seem to finally be bringing the little heart/like icon (which has been around since zune / wp) to the xbox music app.

Anyone else excited about that? ;)

Really liking what I am seeing there. The start screen is really just a very graphical start menu currently that launches either native desktop apps or full screen winrt apps - but not really anything more.

This makes the start screen a serious environment - I am liking the ideas. Perhaps if they can merge it with the start menu idea and offer both levels, that would be pretty awesome.

Now, if they could do it AND allow other development tools to be used, that would be good too.

Liron Hazan said,
At last microsoft is going to adopt the widgets idea from android....
But only next year, OMG, Microsoft works SLOWLY....

Windows Vista had widgets in 2006. (Never mind a bunch of third party options that pre-date that by years.)
Android 1.0 didn't show up until 2008.

Just saying.

Liron Hazan said,
At last microsoft is going to adopt the widgets idea from android....
But only next year, OMG, Microsoft works SLOWLY....

Not really: you had the ability to use widgets in Vista Sidebar.

Liron Hazan said,
At last microsoft is going to adopt the widgets idea from android....
But only next year, OMG, Microsoft works SLOWLY....

I'm glad that you are wrong and I'm glad MS isn't adopting lagdroid's widget idea. Else I'd have to go all Apple which I really don't want to.

Liron Hazan said,
At last microsoft is going to adopt the widgets idea from android....
But only next year, OMG, Microsoft works SLOWLY....
History has shown quite the opposite. It's users that move way slower than Microsoft. Every time Microsoft brings something new, it's users who are reluctant to change. What Microsoft has done is bring stuff ahead of its time and not sticking because of that.

Max Norris said,

Windows Vista had widgets in 2006. (Never mind a bunch of third party options that pre-date that by years.)
Android 1.0 didn't show up until 2008.

Just saying.

I'm talking about mobile widgets, not a desktop ones moreover I'm talking about a successful general idea from another platform which takes microsoft forever to add to the OS, that's SLOW

Liron Hazan said,
I'm talking about mobile widgets, not a desktop ones

Wait what? You're the one comparing a feature on a mobile OS versus what's on a desktop OS to begin with. (Never mind ignoring the fact that Windows was on tablets before Android even existed.. kind of blurs the line between mobile and desktop...)

Liron Hazan said,
moreover I'm talking about a successful general idea from another platform which takes microsoft forever to add to the OS, that's SLOW

And again, since we're mixing apples and oranges, Windows had them long before Android was even around. Vista wasn't even the first by far, they go back as far as (at least) 2000. As a stretch you could even possibly throw Active Desktop in there from Windows 95.

And as much as some folks won't admit it, he's right.

Consider Active Desktop (started with Windows 95 - NOT 98), and was also added to NT4 (both Workstation and Server, via the much-maligned Service Pack 5 - which was maligned for PRECISELY that reason, along with the required addition of IE4).
Windows 2000 Professional/Server (the direct successor to NT4) still supported Active Desktop; however, it was heavily de-emphasized due to user intransigence against it. (This was despite that Windows 2000 Professional - Active Desktop and all - was not only more secure than the heavily-pushed-onto-consumers-by-OEMs Windows ME, but more secure than even Windows 98 - either original OR Second Edition - especially as an Internet client.)

That's pretty cool, a lot of potential! I can see this being useful to me. I hope they include it in the next updates. Fandroids can finally stop bashing live tiles.

Osiris said,
Awesome good to see metro coming along, hopefully this shows the delusional that metro isn't going anywhere.

I would rather say that since it introduction the Modern UI has improved a lot with both subtle and not so much subtle changes from the original one...,

Except the people who don't like Metro never said they wanted it to go away. We wanted and option to totally ignore it during our sessions. Microsoft has been steadily providing a way to this.

Edited by JHBrown, Apr 11 2014, 10:14pm :

JHBrown said,
Except the people who don't like Metro never said they wanted it to go away. We wanted and option to totally ignore it during our sessions. Microsoft has been steadily providing a way to this.

I wasn't referring to you though, you seem to be sensible - just wanted some options. There are some who believe metro is a failure and win9 will correct the "metro mistake", ergo delusional.

JHBrown said,
Except the people who don't like Metro never said they wanted it to go away.
If you believe that to be true then you're ignorant of the hate spewed by some towards Metro, who go on and on about how they will only rest easy once Microsoft does away with that "abomination" completely from the OS (so no-one has the choice of using it). There are lots of nut-cases out there in case you didn't know.

This is really interesting and useful. I really hope they're bringing this to Windows 9 next year. Because this would be really awesome. Amazing potential.

If they gave the user the control to set the background to any image they wanted, and to set the tile colors to anything they wanted, that would be even better. I'd love to be able to not just group my apps, but color code them.

Finally, they really need to have "tile folders", tiles that contain other tiles.

Do all of that, and nobody will be bitching about the start screen or metro any more.

pmbAustin said,
This is really interesting and useful. I really hope they're bringing this to Windows 9 next year. Because this would be really awesome. Amazing potential.

If they gave the user the control to set the background to any image they wanted, and to set the tile colors to anything they wanted, that would be even better. I'd love to be able to not just group my apps, but color code them.

Finally, they really need to have "tile folders", tiles that contain other tiles.

Do all of that, and nobody will be bitching about the start screen or metro any more.

Indeed! The ability to color code the tiles is of paramount importance.

pmbAustin said,
This is really interesting and useful. I really hope they're bringing this to Windows 9 next year. Because this would be really awesome. Amazing potential.

If they gave the user the control to set the background to any image they wanted, and to set the tile colors to anything they wanted, that would be even better. I'd love to be able to not just group my apps, but color code them.

Finally, they really need to have "tile folders", tiles that contain other tiles.

Do all of that, and nobody will be bitching about the start screen or metro any more.

You can already set the background to anything you want, tile colors are either decided by the theme or in most cases by the developer of the app/tile.

HawkMan said,

You can already set the background to anything you want, tile colors are either decided by the theme or in most cases by the developer of the app/tile.


Exactly; what I would like to have is the ability to set the color of the tiles by categories, as we can do in Outlook.

Cosmocronos said,

Exactly; what I would like to have is the ability to set the color of the tiles by categories, as we can do in Outlook.

Don't count on it, Microsoft is one of the biggest offenders of picking their own tile colors.

Shadowzz said,

Don't count on it, Microsoft is one of the biggest offenders of picking their own tile colors.

Very true indeed. The only tiles that do not follow the Theme colour in my 920.... are all MS ones.

Looks cool and I am sure many will find it useful.

Still not a big fan of the tile look though and will continue to pin my apps to the task bar and not use the tiles unless I have to.

WOW!!!! OMG WANT NOW! I especially love how useful the tiles become and love how the desktop tile has the clock and active apps showing. WICKED!

Super-cool, want it soon! Makes the Start Screen even more useful. Plain Live Tiles look so old and boring now in comparison. :D

Dot Matrix said,
Further proof Metro isn't going away. =D

and thanks God is quickly evolving....
What is interesting is the mixing of Live tiles, a new concept, with some kind of Sideshow bar, an older than ten years concept, in the desktop.

Cosmocronos said,

and thanks God is quickly evolving....
What is interesting is the mixing of Live tiles, a new concept, with some kind of Sideshow bar, an older than ten years concept, in the desktop.

Actually the "sideshow" bar I think is just an app that is pinned to the side. But it's hard to tell since he way they embed the tiny YouTube videos means my iPad will only display them at 160p or something :p

HawkMan said,

Actually the "sideshow" bar I think is just an app that is pinned to the side. But it's hard to tell since he way they embed the tiny YouTube videos means my iPad will only display them at 160p or something :p

Not sure about it, I watched the video on my 920 and I will watch it again when home on a bigger screen but it seemed to me like a vertical section on the left of the screen with multiple Tiles vertically aligned. Again I could be wrong but I would love such implementation.

Dot Matrix said,
Further proof Metro isn't going away. =D
Professionally, we've made it "go away" (the best we could) on almost 1100 laptops since February 1st. Personally, I get the usual family, friends, and friends of family, asking me to hide the Metro away. Microsoft is not removing Metro, but you can darn well believe millions of consumer are doing their best to axe it.

JHBrown said,
Professionally, we've made it "go away" (the best we could) on almost 1100 laptops since February 1st. Personally, I get the usual family, friends, and friends of family, asking me to hide the Metro away. Microsoft is not removing Metro, but you can darn well believe millions of consumer are doing their best to axe it.

No, I certainly won't believe made up hyperbole number like millions. And as a professional you should tell the to try it and maybe give them a quick 5 minute demonstration how e start screen is better and easier for them to use and organize.

HawkMan said,

Actually the "sideshow" bar I think is just an app that is pinned to the side. But it's hard to tell since he way they embed the tiny YouTube videos means my iPad will only display them at 160p or something :p

What you are seeing is the touch tasklist you get when you swipe in from the left. They extended it to actually have functions instead of just showing a thumbnail of the running app.

HawkMan said,

No, I certainly won't believe made up hyperbole number like millions. And as a professional you should tell the to try it and maybe give them a quick 5 minute demonstration how e start screen is better and easier for them to use and organize.

Professionally, I work for the government. The big guys above me made these decisions. You know, Colonels, Generals, ECT. Secondly, millions is not hyperbole. You think Microsoft would add a start menu if only a few hundred thousand were complaining? Come on my man, think about it.

JHBrown said,
Professionally, I work for the government. The big guys above me made these decisions. You know, Colonels, Generals, ECT. Secondly, millions is not hyperbole. You think Microsoft would add a start menu if only a few hundred thousand were complaining? Come on my man, think about it.

Then why wasn't the start menu added with 8.1.

Also you don't have to use modern, and the start screen is just a unified desktop + start menu, both are the top 'power user' functions right?

Lots of people come to me with "it sucks, please remove it". But this is based on the 2,5 "IT" people they know who have been complaining about it ever since Windows 8 went beta. Just telling them "It's easy to understand, give it some time" and few weeks later most of those complainers miss the start screen the moment they're behind a Win7 or lower machine.

And for people that regularly get infected with everything and 'enjoy' browsing with 20 toolbars, install the applications they need and tell them that if they need anything, go to the store.
This really cheers people up that half a year later they are in no desperate need for help because their computer is as slow as a turd through a funnel.

JHBrown said,
Professionally, I work for the government. The big guys above me made these decisions. You know, Colonels, Generals, ECT. Secondly, millions is not hyperbole. You think Microsoft would add a start menu if only a few hundred thousand were complaining? Come on my man, think about it.

You're fighting a loosing battle. Future applications look to be Metro based. Just scroll back up and watch the third video to see what that potential workflow might look like.

JH; I've also worked for the military - that is, in fact, where my IT career got off the ground (specifically, 1987-1988); before that, I was a glorified clerk-typist/low-ranking *secretary*. You think that big wheels alone are change-averse; you have NOT seen how change-averse the executive assistants and senior secretaries are to changes in THEIR routines - I got a worm's-eye view of THAT from the inside. It's not any different in enterprises - which came as no surprise to me; it's that folks are surprised at the similarities that comes as a surprise (to me, that is). Sausage factories are ugly whether they are commercially OR government-run.

For there to a show-floor/videoed demo (although pulled) there must be some very established builds of this. Would be hugely surprised to not see this in the next major version refresh.

Provided that Windows-9 also includes a UI oriented to mouse/keyboard users. One UI cannot serve both platforms equally well--its simple physics.

TsarNikky said,
Provided that Windows-9 also includes a UI oriented to mouse/keyboard users. One UI cannot serve both platforms equally well--its simple physics.


Big sides the fact you don't know what physics is, yes it can, I mean metro works as well as the old start menu did and it works equally well with mouse and touch, some things on the start screen work better with a mouse some work better with touch. And interactive tiles would be awesome on a regular desktop to. You basically have one area where you can check the latest mail spam while you flick through the music playlist and do a quick calculation or... Anything. And then you switch to the desktop or full app for more in depth work.

TsarNikky said,
Provided that Windows-9 also includes a UI oriented to mouse/keyboard users. One UI cannot serve both platforms equally well--its simple physics.

Oh geez, so much wrong with this post it's not funny.

I always thought about this as an option, and when they introduced the new extra large tile size in 8.1 I thought it would be a good time to mess with this concept. It wouldn't surprise me if they did in fact add this to Windows soon, probably for 9 and "metro 2.0". No other reason for them to pull the video so quick, they usually keep the MSR concept videos up, they don't get taken down often from what I've seen.

To be fair it looks like they have a strong working codebase.
Can't tell from the videos how 'coherent' it is but certainly promising.

This could probably make it into a build fairly quickly.

londan said,
To be fair it looks like they have a strong working codebase.
Can't tell from the videos how 'coherent' it is but certainly promising.

This could probably make it into a build fairly quickly.

Yeah, I hope. There's a number of things they could do to the start screen and the live tiles to make them better. Someone posted about a design concept or maybe it was a patent for WP that had tiles become cubes that the user could flick around to get more info, basically adding more sides to them instead of the 2 we have now.

These features will silence the haters wich complained about multitasking in Windows 8.X .
Windows 8 looks like it will receive another point to its version numbers , no Windows 9 for us. I may be wrong.
Also on the mail Tile you can see "New icons" , perhaps they will change the Vista style icons to modern ones? A small hidden tip?

Finally interactive live tiles, now just make them live and not on a 30 minute delay (user customizable) then they will be perfect.

SierraSonic said,
Finally interactive live tiles, now just make them live and not on a 30 minute delay (user customizable) then they will be perfect.

Isn't the 30min delay only for WP? And that's really for the old background agents in WP8. In WP8.1 you can have background tasks which work more often it's just that the "resource pool" refreshes every 30mins. On windows 8.x I believe the period is 15mins.

George P said,

Isn't the 30min delay only for WP? And that's really for the old background agents in WP8. In WP8.1 you can have background tasks which work more often it's just that the "resource pool" refreshes every 30mins. On windows 8.x I believe the period is 15mins.

I never really looked into the details, so thanks. None the less, shouldn't be called live and also be on a delay.

I want options to be more like the email settings "as it comes in (live), 5 minutes, 10, 15, 30.

SierraSonic said,
I never really looked into the details, so thanks. None the less, shouldn't be called live and also be on a delay.

I want options to be more like the email settings "as it comes in (live), 5 minutes, 10, 15, 30.

I agree, which is why with 8.1 they've changed things from what I've been hearing to allow for more updates and so on. I'd have to go back and look at more of the BUILD sessions they posted, I'm thinking the live tile updates are part of the push notification system. Though I also know that apps can now fire off a local task that can update the live tile and not have to get a push notification to do so.

SierraSonic said,
Finally interactive live tiles, now just make them live and not on a 30 minute delay (user customizable) then they will be perfect.

30m delay is mobiles, because of the lack of a freeking constant power supply, how's that hard to understand?

duddit2 said,

30m delay is mobiles, because of the lack of a freeking constant power supply, how's that hard to understand?

Look, if android can run 50 widgets, unlimited background tasks, and get near equal life to windows phone, it's a deeper problem than a 30 minute check for updates.

I get the reasoning, but then again, why do they allow me to "double tap to unlock" and "use glance" and allow me to check my email "as it comes in" all with warnings on depleting battery life, but they cant let me add more background apps or have the live tiles actually be live?

Why give me some choice, but not 100%? It's a pointless restriction, make it an option for me to choose how my phone runs, maybe I want the phone to run the way I want it to.

Is that too hard to comprehend? Has my final comment been as insulting as yours? Because maybe I understand their point but can you understand mine without trying to make it seem like I'm uneducated in this situation? CHOICE > JUST CAUSE WE SAID SO.

Near equal life to WP8 devices with the same battery size??? You're smoking something, please share.

My battery in the 920 is smaller then a S4/S5, but it kicks their asses in battery life time. I only lose it when looking at a lot of white due to screen types. But that can be easily avoided anyhow. (and I have glance with backgrounds and double tap to wake enabled, which both constantly drains battery)

And then there's battery save mode, Android has something like that, but still barely gets passed 1,5-2 days of lifetime. I've got my 920 over 5 days of lifetime with it. (have not tested this since Black update, and the battery life did increase a little bit with this update, 6+ days might be possible.)

Crimson Rain said,
Lowest is 1 min on WP8.1

I somehow missed that, that will be great!

Shadowzz said,
Near equal life to WP8 devices with the same battery size??? You're smoking something, please share.

My battery in the 920 is smaller then a S4/S5, but it kicks their asses in battery life time. I only lose it when looking at a lot of white due to screen types. But that can be easily avoided anyhow. (and I have glance with backgrounds and double tap to wake enabled, which both constantly drains battery)

And then there's battery save mode, Android has something like that, but still barely gets passed 1,5-2 days of lifetime. I've got my 920 over 5 days of lifetime with it. (have not tested this since Black update, and the battery life did increase a little bit with this update, 6+ days might be possible.)

My friends S4 has a typical 18-24 hour charge just like my Nokia Icon does with typical use. The only phones that I ever had last longer than a day weren't smart phones, or weren't used as such.

I'm not here to compare phones, I am here to express my opinion to get my phone to fit my use style more, you keep using yours the way you want to and be happy, I want more, and apparently microsoft agrees with me, so yea... :)

londan said,
This is a sign that someone saw this and thought "windows 9"

If you listen carefully in the longest video the guy clearly say "for Windows Next".... I am not surprised that the videos were removed.

It would be beyond totally awesome if the next windows was called Windows NX
I would probably wet my pants at the amount of mojo

Then you might as well jump on over to OS X, Personally I prefer Microsoft doing some Innovating and that's exactly what we see here in terms of an OS that will work across any number of devices and be just as useful on each

So If you're not into innovation and trying new thing then by all means go on to a Stagnant platform run by folks with an unwillingness to change

I guess take you time tho, the other OS's aren't about to change much in the meantime

Hum said,
When MS pulls all the tiles, they will have my vote. ;)

2 posts in, and here it begins again? More like NeoLuddites.com every day. Those there seed-drill contraptions are killing our traditions!!

(Seriously tho, this is why I love this site!)

dingl_ said,
Then you might as well jump on over to OS X, Personally I prefer Microsoft doing some Innovating and that's exactly what we see here in terms of an OS that will work across any number of devices and be just as useful on each

So If you're not into innovation and trying new thing then by all means go on to a Stagnant platform run by folks with an unwillingness to change

I guess take you time tho, the other OS's aren't about to change much in the meantime

There is nothing "innovating" whatsoever for desktop users when it comes to any version of metro.
Yes, for touch users it is fine, I have a surface rt and a Lumia 1520, the UI works great for those devices.

Hum said,
When MS pulls all the tiles, they will have my vote. ;)

agree, I couldn't stand having a screen like that, where its constantly refreshing images inside unrelated tiles, somewhere else on the screen. Its so annoying. Takes your attention away from what you are doing.

dvb2000 said,

agree, I couldn't stand having a screen like that, where its constantly refreshing images inside unrelated tiles, somewhere else on the screen. Its so annoying. Takes your attention away from what you are doing.


When you said unrelated tiles, its like you think tiles cant be grouped or arranged as you like? Which leads onto the thought that you've used w8 very little OR have such a hate scales don't exist for.

good day

Order_66 said,

There is nothing "innovating" whatsoever for desktop users when it comes to any version of metro.
Yes, for touch users it is fine, I have a surface rt and a Lumia 1520, the UI works great for those devices.

...and once again, just because other users like myself that enjoy and use them on desktops and mouse/keyboard configurations are just wrong in your OPINION and should have that functionality taken away from us.

Once again your concerns are noted, but you don't speak for everyone.

Mobius Enigma said,

...and once again, just because other users like myself that enjoy and use them on desktops and mouse/keyboard configurations are just wrong in your OPINION and should have that functionality taken away from us.

Once again your concerns are noted, but you don't speak for everyone.

Where have I said you should have anything taken away from you for any reason?

Order_66 said,

There is nothing "innovating" whatsoever for desktop users when it comes to any version of metro.

Have you seen the previews for the next Windows? Live tiles in a start menu on the desktop along with typical start menu links. And then Modern Mixx style windowized metro apps. *AND* those windowized metro apps would still be touch enabled so that people with touch screens can use them, like on the Dell 18 or touch monitors.

These interactive tiles are just another plus for all users, touch and desktop.

Rann Xeroxx said,

Have you seen the previews for the next Windows? Live tiles in a start menu on the desktop along with typical start menu links. And then Modern Mixx style windowized metro apps. *AND* those windowized metro apps would still be touch enabled so that people with touch screens can use them, like on the Dell 18 or touch monitors.

These interactive tiles are just another plus for all users, touch and desktop.

That's not innovation, that's fixing a failure.

scorpian007 said,
Saw this earlier. Looks really cool, it's like having OS native widgets without the bloat (I'm looking at you Android)
heck, even the Vista/7 widgets were bloated (they used an unreasonable amount of memory for what limited functions they had)

Brando212 said,
heck, even the Vista/7 widgets were bloated (they used an unreasonable amount of memory for what limited functions they had)

Haha I remember them, they were giant resource hogs