The next Windows 10 update is set to arrive on Monday, April 30. Most Windows updates are pretty boring affairs, consisting mainly of security and reliability tweaks, but next week Windows 10 users will get some interesting new features including the ability to go back in time.
The focus of the update is time and the efficient use of it. The first new feature is called Timeline, and it allows you to go back in time up to 30 days to find your unfinished stuff. By that, Microsoft means anything you do using Microsoft Edge or Office 365 on your Windows 10 PC, iOS, or Android device while logged in to a Microsoft account. If you are part way through an online order, or wrote a document on your smartphone and want to finish it on your PC, Timeline is meant to make searching for and accessing that content seamless across devices. The ability to retrieve stuff up to 30 days in the past is a nice added feature.
Next up is Focus Assist, which is all about removing distractions when trying to work or relax. With Focus Assist turned on in Windows 10, all social media updates and notifications in general will be muted. When turned off, a summary of what you missed is presented as a quick recap to see if you care. It’s also possible to automatically turn Focus Assist on for regular periods of the day when you don’t want to be distracted.
Microsoft Edge is also receiving new features which aren’t exactly new. Audio can now be muted per tab by clicking an audio icon, there’s a full-screen distraction-free reading mode for web pages, e-books, and PDFs, and Edge will offer to save your address and payment details securely for easier online shopping. You’ll also see a new Grammar Tools button, which can help with text comprehension by breaking down words on a page into syllables as well as highlighting nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
Finally, we have improved voice control in two forms. The first is Cortana, which once the April 2018 update is installed can control your smart home if compatible devices are present. Smart home appliances from ecobee, Honeywell, and Nest should all carry out the commands you give them via Cortana. Then we have Dictation, which has been much improved for recording your thoughts. Pressing Win+H allows you to talk and everything you say is written down. Microsoft is confident everyone will be impressed with how accurate Dictation has become.
If your Windows 10 computer seems to be working harder than usual on Monday, that’s probably the April 2018 Update downloading and installing in the background. It may not happen until later in the week, though.