Microsoft has a plan to stop people from ignoring Windows Store apps, and it involves putting recommendations in front of users’ faces.
In Windows 10, Microsoft plans to look at how people are using the software, and figure out what kind of apps they might like. Over time, users may get app recommendations in different parts of the operating system.
For instance, the Start menu might show a recommendation directly underneath the list of most used apps. If the user installs the app, it’ll then be available to launch from that same space. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore said he hopes this creates a cycle in which users discover new apps, pin them as Live Tiles in the Start menu, and free up the recommendation space for something new.
The lock screen will be another opportunity for app promotion, with an occasional full-screen image of a Windows Store app replacing the usual random image from Bing. This is part of a larger plan to make lock screen more interactive. Belfiore showed how users could train Bing by indicating which images they liked or disliked, and might see an occasional advertisement for the Cortana virtual assistant if they haven’t been using the feature.
For that matter, Cortana herself will take part in the recommendation game, bringing up a related app from the Store when you’re typing the name of a program you already have. You’ll also be able to use Cortana to directly perform actions with apps without having to actually open the app itself, such as sending messages to others on Viber.
Why this matters: Even if Microsoft achieves its goal of one billion Windows 10 users, there won’t be much of an ecosystem if people stick to legacy desktop apps and never explore the Store—though the company has audacious plans to bring more apps to the Windows Store. Still, the company will need to walk a fine line between educating users and annoying them. It’s unclear exactly how much control users will have over these recommendations, though Belfiore said the lock screen “spotlight” feature will at least be optional.
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Jared Newman covers personal technology from his remote Cincinnati outpost. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for help with ditching cable or satellite TV.
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