Microsoft Borrows Mac Trackpad Gestures For Windows 10

Microsoft introduced new trackpad gestures in Windows 8, but the company is expanding them further with the upcoming release of Windows 10. In a keynote speech at TechEd Europe today, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore demonstrated new trackpad features that will soon be available to Windows 10 testers. “In the past touch pads on Windows have really been done very differently because OEMs do them,” explained Belfiore. Microsoft introduced precision trackpads with the help of Intel in Windows 8 to improve the hardware situation, and now the focus is on gestures in software. “With Windows 10 we’re adding support for power users in a touch pad, where multiple finger gestures — which all of you power users learn — can make you really efficient.”

The new gestures include a three finger swipe down action to minimize all active Windows and three finger swipe up to bring them back. An interesting addition is the ability to use a three finger swipe up gesture to activate the new Task View feature of Windows 10. Not only does Task View look like OS X’s Mission Control (Exposé) feature, the three finger swipe up is the same gesture. Microsoft is also borrowing the three finger swipe left and right to activate switching between apps, something Apple uses to move between fullscreen Mac applications. Microsoft and Apple have both borrowed desktop features from each other over the years, and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs unashamedly noted that Apple “steals” great ideas to make its own. “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Microsoft is also improving window snapping on multiple monitors. Belfiore demonstrated a new Windows 10 build (9865) with the ability to snap windows side-by-side on multiple monitors, something power users have been calling for. The feature works by hovering apps in the center of the monitor split, and then slowly dragging them in the direction of the transparent snap window that appears. Microsoft is planning to bring both features to an upcoming Windows 10 Technical Preview build, and Belfiore notes that the company is “really focusing on smoothing out the power user experience” overall in Windows 10.

I Write Things.