Windows 10 20H1 Test Build 18894: Microsoft Unifies OS Search Experience

The Microsoft sign is shown on top of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California
The Microsoft sign is shown on top of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 19,2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 19H1 version 1903 anytime this May, possibly in the next few days, and at the same time work is now underway for the next version of the operating system. This week, a preview build of Windows 10 20H1 went live promising improved search experience to users.

To be clear, test build 18894 is intended for Windows Insider participants, specifically those in the Fast Ring segment. According to Microsoft, there will be a phased rollout of the feature upgrades and foremost of which is what the company calls "integrated File Explorer search experience."

Integrate is the key word because file search functions within the OS will be powered by Windows Search when the next version is released. For users, this will mean fusing offline file searches to online or returning a unified list of results that also include documents that have been backed up on OneDrive.

The unified search function also translates to cross-product search capability, indicating that users can take advantage of the enhancement by having easy access to contents indexed within an emerging super-platform that consists of Windows 10, the Bing search engine and Office productivity suite.

When the feature upgrade becomes fully functional, searching in Windows 10 "is always one click away."

"The new unified Microsoft Search is meant to help users more easily find people, related content, commands for apps and more before they actually start typing in the search box, as it will be contextually aware and offer proactive search results and suggestions," ZDNet said in a related report.

As indicated above, the plan is to deliver the feature upgrade by installment, purportedly to test if the function is living up to the intended design or user experience is getting any better.

"This rollout will start with a small percent, and then we'll increase the rollout to more Insiders as we validate the quality of the experience," Microsoft said.

Like in previous preview releases, this latest build is packed with the usual bug fixes, performance enhancements, and other feature improvements. The latter mostly involves bump ups on Windows 10 accessibility features that make for a more efficient implementation.

More test builds are expected for Windows 10 20H1 to fine-tune its feature upgrades prior to the actual public release. It is estimated that 20H1 should be ready for general use in the first quarter of 2020 though glitches could delay the arrival by up to April of the same year.

But before that, Microsoft is now all set to unleash Windows 10 19H1 version 1903, which the company hopes will further increase in numbers the OS' user-base. Touchdown is said to happen this May 2019 or as early as next week.

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