Microsoft released its first major update for Windows 10 a couple of days ago. It’s sort of like Windows 10’s first service pack. Among the features include better performance, improvements to messaging, easier device activation, and additions to Cortana. Windows 10 users should receive the update automatically through Windows Update, and Windows 7 or 8 users will now be able to upgrade to Windows 10 with this new update already installed.
The update comes with a huge list of new features, but we’ll just focus on the major changes here. A more detailed list can be found in an update from Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of Windows, on the company’s blog.
The biggest, and arguably most important change, is performance. Myerson says Windows 10 devices can now perform tasks 30% faster than they would if they were using Windows 7 on the same device. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Cortana now has a pen input feature. That means if your device has any kind of pen input, you can scribble down notes and Cortana will work out what you’ve written down. It will save any phone numbers or email addresses and set up reminders for you. It will also keep track of many of your other appointments, such as movie times, and can now be used to book Uber trips. Of course, if you’re like me, you disabled Cortana when you first installed Windows 10 because you didn’t want to send all the details of your personal life to Microsoft. Unfortunately, that issue isn’t at all addressed in this update, so security-minded users will likely continue to stay away from Cortana.
Larger Start Menu
The start menu has been made significantly larger. It spreads much wider across the screen. It’s also got a larger app limit. Until now, the start menu couldn’t handle more than 512 app tiles on the screen. Now that limit is 2048 tiles. It’s not clear why there needs to be a limit at all.
Microsoft is keen to push Windows 10 as a business platform, and it’s easy to see why. A huge portion of Windows’ user base comes from its business customers. The update adds two new enterprise features for free. The first allows IT departments greater control over which Windows updates they want to install within an organisation. The second update is for the Windows Store for Business, which gives IT departments greater control over the way apps are distributed to devices within an organisation.
Find your device
Similar to Apple’s ‘Find My iPhone’ feature, this allows users to log-in to their account and see the last known location of their device. It works on all Windows 10 devices, too – not just for mobile devices.
Mobile apps from Threads make profile switching easy
Twitter rival, Threads, owned by Meta, now allows account switching without logging out.
This Thursday, the social networking app announced that users can swap accounts on its mobile apps by long pressing the bottom right profile icon. Tap “Add profile” after the long press to add a profile.
Users can easily switch between work and personal profiles. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri did not say if the profile-switching feature allowed you to add a limit of accounts.
On the same day as Facebook allowed multiple personal profiles on Blue, the text-based social networking app announced its profile feature.
Threads keeps adding features three months after its launch. It began testing full-text search in New Zealand and Australia late last month. The company launched global search this month.
Threads’ competitors ship features in a competitive social media landscape. Mastodon released version 4.2 this week with improved profile and post search, automatic quick action suggestions in the search box, a new web interface with thread indicators and article previews, and a Privacy and Reach settings tab.
Elon Musk said X will collect ‘a tiny monthly payment’ for its service
X owner Elon Musk suggested today that Twitter may no longer be free. Musk said the business was “moving to a small monthly payment” for the X system in a live-streamed meeting with Netanyahu on Monday. He suggested such a tweak to address platform bots.
Musk said, “It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots.” According to him, bots have a high effective cost due to their low cost (a tenth of a penny), even though they require a few dollars. Each bot creator needed a new payment method to make another bot.
Musk said the new subscription price would be a “small amount of money.”
Musk also announced that X now has 550 million monthly users and 100 to 200 million daily postings. Musk’s stats may include automated accounts, either good bots like news feeds or malicious bots like spammers.
This figure couldn’t be compared to Twitter’s pre-Musk user base, which was computed using mDAU, Twitter’s own metric. This earlier statistic identified Twitter users who may be monetized by adverts. Twitter reported 229 million mDAUs in Q1 2022.
Musk did not specify when he would charge for X. Since Musk took over the network last year, it has been pushing users to subscribe to X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue). This $8 per month or $84 per year subscription service lets you modify posts, reduce the ad load, prioritize search and conversation rankings, make lengthier posts, and more.
X doesn’t divulge its paying subscribers, but independent research shows X Premium doesn’t attract most customers. X Premium has 827,615 subscribers, according to one estimate.
Musk has considered charging everyone for X. In fact, Platformer claimed last year that Musk was considering a Twitter paywall.
Though hate speech on X came up, Musk and Netanyahu discussed AI technologies and regulation today. Musk called himself “against antisemitism” and “anything that promotes hate and conflict.” Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, which has accused Musk and X of antisemitism, in his latest fight.
X launches government ID account verification
For paid users, X, formerly Twitter, has implemented government ID-based account verification to prevent impersonation and provide “prioritized support.”
Social media partner Au10tix provides identity verification solutions from Israel. The ID verification pop-up says the Au10tix can store this data for 30 days.
X’s verification support page says ID verification is available in “numerous countries,” but not in the EU, EEA, or UK. The region’s strict data protection laws likely explain this.
ID-based verification seems unnecessary and rarely beneficial. The company may age-gate content based on ID age.
“X currently focuses on account authentication to prevent impersonation and may explore additional measures, such as ensuring users have access to age-appropriate content and protecting against spam and malicious accounts, to maintain platform integrity and healthy conversations,” it said.
Users who pass the verification badge will receive a government ID verification note. Only clicking the blue checkmark on the profile page shows it. The company said ID-verified users will get “prioritized support from X Services,” but this is unclear.
The company allowed paid users to hide checkmarks from their profiles last month.
X plans to speed up checkmark reviews if users verify their IDs. Plus, they can frequently change their names, usernames, and profile photos without losing the checkmark.
Only paid users can use ID-based verification. Ironically, X promotes impersonation and spam reduction but doesn’t offer verification tools to all users.
Twitter discontinued legacy verification and removed account checkmarks in April. However, the company reinstated the top account checkmark after much chaos.
“This will additionally help us tie, for those that choose, an account to a real person by processing their government-issued ID,” X told Bloomberg. “This will also help X fight impersonation attempts and secure the platform.”
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