Yesterday's pillar (Specialized for Laptops) focused on changes which, while applicable to all platforms on which Windows 7 will be found, have a slant in favor of mobile platforms. This is part two of my series on the Five Pillars of Windows 7. Most of the emphasis in today's pillar will be focused on how Windows 7 will spread the Windows Experience away from just your hard drive.
Pillar Two: Designed for Services — Microsoft has been working on expanding its online properties. Windows Live is the manifestation of Microsoft’s Windows-related online efforts, and it seems that these services will play a key role in Windows 7:
- Being Up to Date with Windows Vista is easy thanks to Windows Update. Windows 7 will look to expand this a bit, but the scenario presented by Microsoft is fairly vague. My own personal interpretation is that Windows 7 will encourage an up-to-date experience with all applications installed on a Windows machine (which presumably will have to opt into Windows Update to take advantage of it). The user would be notified of any applications which could be in need of a tweak or update.
- Worry-free Upgrades means that the advantages of upgrading as well as specific upgrade paths will be easy to understand for the user. Confusion over the benefits and disadvantages of upgrading will be minimized, and for counterfeit users, an easy and hassle-free path to genuine Windows will be made possible. My personal opinion regarding the counterfeit purchase program gig is that Microsoft is targeting the wrong users for it. I could be very wrong, but I don't believe there are many laypeople who are buying
- Windows Online will essentially serve as a knowledge base for the average user, providing information, resources, and assistance for everything from solving problems, being up to date, and even choosing a Windows machine that’s right for the user. It likely won't be much different from the resources Microsoft already maintains online.
- Help and Community access will allow for a user to upload information about his/her computer to communities of Windows Experts who can help answer questions. It’s analogous to when you run HijackThis and post the results on an anti-spyware forum for the more experienced users to filter. Whether this will take advantage of only Microsoft communities or non-Microsoft communities as well is up in the air, though I know I'd love to get AeroXP involved (we've got a great bunch of people here).
- The Family Friendly Web Experience will help parents protect their children from content which might be seen as unhealthy for those underage. Essentially, it’s a broadening of Parental Controls in Vista, though as it’s within the Designed for Services pillar, online coordination will likely play a large role. Online adult blacklists, perhaps?
- Gadgets that are ready when you are and safe, too. Tying into the Working on Demand scenario as well as other optimizations such as information caching, gadgets (be they for Live or for your Sidebar) will always present relevant content to the user without service dropouts.
- In-box application improvements will be evident in applications such as WordPad, Paint, the Calculator, and other core tools. Some of these applications will see added functionality for the first time in over a decade, though seeing anything significant is probably nothing more than a dream.
The god-worded term used internally for this particular scenario is "Applets that showcase the Platform." The reasoning behind my use of a different title should be obvious enough, I hope. Update: Screenshots of Calculator and Paint added below.
Windows 7, Windows Sever, WinMin, Win7, Features