Windows search is getting a massive upgrade in the guise of Mac’s Spotlight search function with a tool called PowerToys Run. Launched this past Tuesday and still in a very early stage.
CNN calls the new feature “promising”, a search box that could put the Start Menu and Windows key-R shortcuts out of business. The new tool was announced at Build, Microsoft’s annual developer event. It was held virtually this year for the first time in its history because of the coronavirus pandemic. Other highlights included new Google Docs-like features for Office and some Edge browser updates.
The new search tool pops up in the middle of your screen, spurred forth by an Alt-Space shortcut, and is incredibly fast at finding files, programs and other items. It’s much faster than the current Windows search tool.
The release build, which is in beta – for now, starts with the number zero. Indicating that some bugs are expected. CNN is also expecting the tool to have a name change during the course of its development. Another turnoff: You have to install it from GitHub, along with a separate .NET Core program, a framework upon which PowerToys and other open-source software runs.
Microsoft, though, is promising that PowerToys Run will be seriously impressive. It will be a catch-all launcher box that Microsoft says could eventually be a starting point for every kind of query. For example, it could eventually run search queries on the Internet for casual users – on the browser of your choice – and at the same time fully replace Windows key-R for power users, who will be able to use all the same commands they’ve become familiar with.
As of right now, Windows search is a confusing amalgam hidden within the Start menu, combining Search, Cortana and Win-R. User options are also limited. For example, you can search the Internet using Windows search, but exclusively on Bing, and only with the Microsoft Edge browser.
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