In a recent post on Building Windows 8 blog Microsoft’s Brian Uphoff, a program manager, explains the idea behind the designing of Search for Windows 8 Start Screen.He states,”When planning Windows 8, we wanted to make sure the efficiency and dexterity of the Windows 7 Start menu search was carried forward into the new Start screen.”
The search box of today in the Start menu first made its appearance in Windows Vista. It became easy for users to search for programs or apps, settings, and files on the desktop and in personal folders like Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos.
In Windows 7, search results included detailed Control Panel tasks in addition to the main Control Panel pages.Also, Control Panel items were separated from programs into a unique group that allowed users to easily focus on the type of result they were looking for.
The overall experience aggregated different types of items and had a fixed limit on the number of results that could appear.Clicking a group header would take the users to Windows Explorer for programs and files or to Control Panel for settings.
A look at the figure below will clearly explain that a majority of usage of Windows 7 Start Menu Search was to find and launch programs.
Regarding Windows 8 Brian Uphoff adds,
The Windows 8 Start search experience builds on top of search features available in Windows 7 and provides a unique view for each of the three system groups – Apps, Settings and Files. These search result views are a natural progression from the Windows 7 groups and are easily accessible from anywhere in the operating system via the Search charm or keyboard shortcuts.
We paid special attention to ensuring the number of keystrokes required to find and launch apps, settings, or files is at parity with or better than in Windows 7. We’ve introduce a set of keyboard shortcuts to help users quickly and efficiently get to settings search results (WIN key + W) or file search results (WIN key + F), thus reducing the total number of keystrokes needed to find and launch settings or files.
Users can continue to launch applications or commands as they would in Windows 7, or use (WIN-key + R) to bring up the old Run dialog dating back to Windows 95. The search screen also auto-completes paths to directories and network shares:
In File search,user can also see search suggestions as they type to help them quickly and efficiently complete the search. More relevant and contextual information for each file is also now displayed to make the search experience complete. Using a mouse, hovering over a result reveals a rich tooltip with some additional details.
Check out the following video of the new Start Screen in action:
Source: Building Windows 8 blog