Spotlight: A personalized lockscreen in Windows 10

Microsoft detailed some of the new features coming to Windows 10 today at Build and one of those has to do with a revamped lockscreen, that can display personalized images and recommendations.

Called Windows Spotlight this option mode for your lockscreen will display beautiful images, similar to what Bing does on phones and tablets. You can select whether an image appeals to you and there’s some machine learning involved that will display similar images in the future.

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However, that’s not all as Spotlight can also learn from the apps you have installed and the services you use. As such, in time, it can give you recommendations as to which apps you might want to check out, or what features of Windows 10 you might be missing out on. On stage Joe Belfiore demoed how Spotlight could unobtrusively alert a user to Cortana, in case he hadn’t tried out the virtual assistant yet.

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The lockscreen could also highlight apps from the Store that a user might want to try out whether because of similar apps already installed on the system or because of its popularity and other metrics. Now this technically counts as an actual ad but there are two important features that make this much less bad than that previous sentence would lead you to think.

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First up, the ad itself is very non-intrusive and, if Microsoft holds to what they demoed, actually beautiful. Highlighting the Fresh Paint app in the store will a well-designed lockscreen image is quite ok for many users. Secondly, this feature is entirely optional. Users can disable the lockscreen entirely so there’s no fear of Microsoft forcing its users to see ads everytime they look at their devices.

Design-conscious developers could make very good use of such features and offer users interesting experiences, whether passive or interactive, even when a device is not in use, so we’re looking forward to trying out Windows Spotlight.

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