Google has launched a dedicated search app for Windows 8 ahead of Friday’s official release of the OS. Google Search for Windows 8 is now available free in the Windows Store and will be an alternative to Bing, which is the default search engine in Internet Explorer on Windows 8.
The Google Search app for Windows is not only a search app, but also a portal to other Google services, including Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Drive and Reader. The main interface has a simple large search bar, and includes voice search, so you can speak your search query.
The app also features some Google Search features many have grown accustomed to, including instant results, so there’s no need to press enter to see the results, as well as instant previews, so you can flick through the search results without having to visit each page. The app integrates with the search charm in Windows 8, so you can search Google directly from there.
Google has also been preparing a version of its Chrome Web browser for Windows 8, which is currently available as a preview for developers. The Windows 8 (nee Metro) style app is very similar to the desktop counterpart, but has enlarged elements such as tabs to better accommodate touchscreens. One of its advantages over Internet Explorer 10 is that it shows all open tabs at once, instead of swiping upward to see the tabs, which is of use to those who need to switch between tabs often.