Windows 8 is integrated and from social and security to sync, it is what you expect from a modern operating system. And if it’s nothing else,.
If you’re looking for an integrated social experience, Windows 8 comes very close to having it all. Unlike iOS and Android, which require you to dive into apps as if they were buckets of specific information, Windows 8 is broad and expansive. Start screen tiles are natively integrated with your apps; it is impossible to decouple them.
Tiles surface information as it comes in, not unlike peering through a window. The Mail app previews recent e-mails; the Calendar app shows your next appointment. You can also set this information to surface on your lock screen.
Contacts from multiple sources are integrated in the People app. When it recognizes the same contact from different networks, it merges them. Physical addresses appear with a link to Bing Maps for quick lookups, and accounts that are added to one app — such as People — cross over to other related apps, like Messaging.
Search is global, and includes data from all your apps that have activated the search hooks. Of course, this being Windows, you can easily tweak those settings.
There’s a Live SDK that developers can use to hook into the single sign-on, and the SkyDrive for file sync. So as your apps are integrated with each other and Windows 8 as a whole, they are also syncable. Use your Microsoft log-in on any Windows 8 computer, and instantly your apps, settings, files, and browser history will get pulled down.
The beta of Internet Explorer 10 continues on the path dictated by IE 9. IE 9 and 10 are the most standards-compliant versions of Internet Explorer yet, as well as recognized by several sources as extremely good at blocking malware and phishing.
There’s also stuff you’re likely to never encounter that’s protecting you, like Trusted Boot for double-checking system integrity and SmartScreen to protect you from phishing and malware. There are features like Xbox Game and Xbox Companion apps for pulling XBox content into Windows 8; a new Refresh option that will reinstall Windows 8 without deleting your data; and multiple monitor support for showing Start on one screen and the desktop on the other.
Some people may find it jarring that most of the Windows utilities appear in the Windows 8 desktop screen, even when you launch them from the Start screen. Still, Microsoft has made some effort to make them more accessible. The Task Manager, for example, has been redecorated with colors, charts, and tabs.
As far as default features are concerned, though, Windows 8 Release Preview presents a solid baseline of apps and functionality to get you started.
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