Welcome to the third post in my series marking the launch of Windows 8 which is aimed at discussing how the new OS may help Bing increase its number of users.
Today we’ll be looking at browser apps and briefly discuss the implications of Windows Phone 8.
- Part 1 – Start Screen and Windows RT
- Part 2 – User Accounts and Synchronisation
- Part 3 – Browser Apps and Windows Phone 8
- Part 4 – Desktop Search and Bing Apps
- Part 5 – Getting Social
Internet Explorer 10
Yesterday I talked about how the Internet Explorer 10 app (as opposed to the desktop version) will be a natural choice for some users wanted to perform a quick search or unsure how to install Chrome and Firefox. The prominence of the IE10 tile on the start screen will encourage people to use this for quick searches. But what of the app itself?
In this screenshot I’ve opened a blank page as it helps to demonstrate the most important changes to the user interface. There isn’t an icon or indication of the search engine used if you conduct an internet search from the consolidated search box/address bar and all clutter is kept to a minimum. This is a simple and effective layout that highlights the most important features.
It’s so simple that the first time I used this, I typed a term and loaded the website I needed before I registered the fact I’d just used Bing rather than Google. For novice users and people in a hurry this suffices, and with the emphasis of the internet Explorer tile on the start screen I wouldn’t be surprised if Bing attracts searchers from Google, without the searchers even noticing.
Even if that’s the case, I know a number of silver surfers who open Internet Explorer and use Bing to search for Google before looking for the site they want. Maybe Bing use will increase – but only for the search term Google?!
By comparison, the desktop program retains a similar appearance to the versions we’re used to so I don’t expect this to change our search patterns:
Mozilla Firefox Browser App
Firefox is still in development, and while an early preview recently surfaced, this isn’t available at the time of writing. However, the screenshots below from Mozilla clearly show a new appearance closer to the Internet Explorer 10 app then earlier Firefox desktop editions.
I expect the default search engine in the new Firefox will remain as Google.
Google Chrome Browser App
Of the three main PC browsers, Chrome is the first to carry the desktop layout to the app version. This just looks and feels like the same great browser we know and love, with Google obviously the default search engine. I expect one of the first actions performed by the majority of Windows 8 users will be to install this – especially with Firefox evidently not yet available.
So, in summary, I expect the layout of the Internet Explorer 10 app, combined with the prominence of the tile on the start screen, to gain Microsoft a few new searchers. However once people are familiar with Chrome and Firefox things will likely stabilise.
Windows Phone 8
It wouldn’t be possible to write this series without referencing the new Windows Phone 8 operating system. Nokia is pinning its hopes on the new OS, and HTC are also showing an interest. Windows Phone 7 barely made a dent, but it’s possible people bored of iOS and Android, combined with a proper push from the manufacturers, may help this to become more popular. Features such as Microsoft Office, SkyDrive and Nokia’s SatNav will also make these very tempting to a lot of people.
It’s too early to talk about the features of this OS as Microsoft is keeping the details tightly under wraps however Internet Explorer 10 and Bing apps are a certainty on the new handsets, as is the likelihood of better integration between mobile and desktop. If the phones do become popular then this will certainly give Bing another advantage.
That’s it for today, however tomorrow we’ll be looking at Bing apps, and also how traditional desktop searching has evolved for better integration with online content.