Windows 7 is still far, far away, but the interest in Microsoft’s next operating system is growing steadily. I think it is not because people are disappointed of Vista, but because Windows 7 could be the beginning of a new type of desktop OS. Today, I found a couple of interesting posts about Windows 7. One is a demo about some new features of Windows 7, then there are some new comments from Bill Gates and Mary Jo Foley has some news about the interaction of Windows Live and Windows 7.
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The demo just shows some basic enhancements of Windows Explorer, a Screen & Animation Capture tool, a new Disk Usage Analyzer, an enhanced Task Manager, a short demo about Virtual Drive and the new Website, Blog and Portal Designer.
The new Windows Explorer will get tabs and will allow you to display two folders side-by-side. Two features I have been waiting for a long time. This Virtual Drive thing seems to be interesting, too. But I am not sure what it really does. I googled about it to find out more about this feature, but wasn’t successful. Do you know more? The other features look nice, too but it is nothing revolutionary. Microsoft certainly has to do more for the next Windows version than just adding some more tools.
Update: It seems that this Video is a fake.
A more modular design will certainly be interesting, not only because it will lead to an operating system which needs less resources and will therefore also run on older computers. Softpedia has news about the latest comments from Bill Gates regarding Windows 7.
But I think this won’t convince Windows customers. The real challenge will be to integrate Windows 7 with Microsoft’s online activities. Mary Jo Foley wrote more about this. Most of it is not very clear though. However, the interesting part is that Live integration seems to be indeed the focus in Windows 7. Many think that Microsoft’s business model is endangered by cloud computing, software as a service, etc. I don’t believe that, although I am convinced that these new business models have a great future. However, it is quite obvious that Microsoft is very serious now in “pushing Windows into the cloud” and making it an integral part of it.
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The fact that they are adding 10,000 datacenter servers per month to the cloud is another hint. It is not very likely that they need all these servers to compete with Google in the search engine market. I believe that those servers are a part of future Windows versions. That is future desktops will be partly within the cloud. Some essential Windows features will only work if you have an internet connection. You will be able to store all your data in the cloud and part of your desktop software will come from the cloud as well. And Windows 8 might not work at all without being online. However, I am pretty sure that the kind of cloud computing Microsoft has in mind has not much to do with web-based services. I somehow think that Live Mesh is the first step in this direction.