Microsoft said Friday that it has updated its flagship operating system Windows to help users get more stuff done.
The new release introduces three major features — a timeline view, a feature to help you ignore distractions and improved voice control.
“The spirit of this release is how it can help you get back time,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, said in an interview with the Washington Post last month.
This is the first Windows release since Microsoft broke up the Windows and Devices Group late last month. It had been one of the company’s core departments for decades.
The cloud plays a major part in the new update to allow people to run Microsoft’s software on any machine, regardless of whether it’s a Surface or Apple Mac.
“Having Windows’s efforts align with the cloud will help us scale even more broadly,” Mehdi said.
The Timeline feature fits into that trend, by creating a view that lets you see what work you’re doing in Microsoft programs across devices.
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If you are working on a Word document on your iPhone or your Android tablet on your train ride into work, for example, Timeline allows for whatever you’re working on in transit to show up on your work PC when you get into the office.
With a new feature called Focus Assist, Microsoft also is riding a trend with appeal to people evaluating how much of their life is spent with screens — designing ways that technology can get you to use it less.
The feature will shut off your notifications for set periods of time to keep you from getting distracted. Microsoft looked at research that said switching tasks, even just to see a notification, can keep someone from regaining their focus for 23 minutes, Aaron Woodman, general manager of Windows marketing said.
You can flip the switch on at any time, or set times in your day when you specifically want to focus. And just in case you’re worried you’ll be missing too much, you can set the feature to let through notifications from certain people, such as your boss.