Microsoft is experimenting with an intelligent tabs feature called ‘sets’ for all Windows 10 apps; rolls out TimeLine to beta testers

Software giant Microsoft is testing a new feature known as ‘sets’ which finally brings ‘tabbed browsing to the Windows operating system.

Software giant Microsoft is testing a new feature known as ‘sets’ which finally brings ‘tabbed browsing to the Windows operating system. However, it will not be the kind of tabular interface that one would expect and where users open multiple files associated with the same program and manage them all in one window.

Microsoft is experimenting with an intelligent tabs feature called ‘sets’ for all Windows 10 apps; rolls out TimeLine to beta testers

Image: Microsoft

The company posted details about ‘Sets’ and other changes coming to the upcoming Windows Insider Preview in a post on the Windows Insider website. Terry Myerson, the EVP for Windows and Devices Group detailed all the upcoming features that the Windows team was experimenting with at Microsoft.

Timeline

Myerson confirmed that Microsoft is finally rolling out Timeline in the next Windows Insider Preview for the testers who are enrolled to receive Fast Ring 1 updates. The company had previously previewed the feature at its Annual BUILD conference earlier this year. For the uninitiated, Fast Ring is one of the release channels for users who test early preview builds of Windows 10. The company usually rolls out the fresh and untested features in the Fast Ring where people want to test the latest features without much worry about stability.

Image: Microsoft

Image: Microsoft

The Slow ring, on the other hand, is for the testers who would want to test the feature after most of the bugs have been ironed out. Both these rings are part of the ‘Development Branch’.

Windows ‘Sets’

Myerson detailed that ‘Sets’ is Microsoft’s attempt to make it easier for users to organise their workflow and get back to it with as little effort as possible. The tabular interface that Microsoft is working on it not limited to tabs of that same program in the same Window. Instead, the tabs here are intelligent and flexible as users can open a different program in the same window without the need to juggle around different windows with all the different tabs opened.

Image: YouTube/Windows

Image: YouTube/Windows

Image: YouTube/Windows

Image: YouTube/Windows

The primary reason for how this feature works is because Microsoft wants the feature to work in conjunction with Timeline so that the user can get back to whatever task they were working on without wasting time finding the different programs that were open at a particular point in the timeline.

Image: YouTube/Windows

Image: YouTube/Windows

Image: YouTube/Windows

Image: YouTube/Windows

The interesting thing to note here is that Windows will remember all the different programs that were open at a particular time and will remind the user about the different programs if they happen to open one of the files from any recent ‘Set’. Terry admitted that ‘Sets’ is not the final name as the team has ‘not landed on a name yet’. The company posted a video about their vision of the feature and demoed a student working with Microsoft Office Word with Office 365, Microsoft Edge and Powerpoint.

One thing to note here is that ‘Add tabs to File Explorer’ currently has 22,245 votes on the Windows Feedback Hub at the time of writing and ‘Sets’ should satisfy those users while offering even more functionality. According to a report by The Verge, ‘all apps will eventually get tabs’ which means that File Explorer, Notepad and even Photoshop could get tabs in the future. The report pointed out that that company is aiming to let Android and iOS users use ‘Sets’ and let them resume their work after they log in to their Windows-powered device.

The report notes that it will be difficult for Microsoft to convince third-party developers to make it easier for apps to resume and launch on whatever mobile platform they are developing. Which means that it is likely that the experience will be limited to Microsoft Office apps and Microsoft Edge for some time. The company is looking for as much feedback as it can get before it starts rolling of other Windows testers. Sadly, the company has not committed on any timeline about when the feature could make it to the final release of Windows.

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