Microsoft is working towards a public preview version of Windows Blue. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed that the software giant is aggressively targeting a summer launch date for Windows Blue, ensuring its development cycle is short. Microsoft recently passed Milestone 1 for Windows Blue, but the company is now readying a Milestone Preview which will form the basis for a public preview

The public preview, first reported by win8china, will launch within the next few months, allowing existing Windows 8 users to test and provide feedback before Microsoft readies the final version of Windows Blue. We understand that Microsoft is aiming to only have one preview release for Blue. Features are still being prepared for Blue, but one of the biggest changes is an improvement to the search charm functionality.

Bing will play a big part in Windows Blue

We're told that the Bing team is working closely on Windows Blue to improve search in a significant way. A number of scenarios are being targeted, including the ability for users to search for a movie and have apps surface that content and provide a quick way to play it. The current implementation of search in Windows 8 supports deep search within apps, but users currently have to select those apps to search within them. Blue will expand on that, providing apps are updated to support it, by extending the search abilities of the OS.

Blue is expected to be made available to existing Windows 8 users by the end of the summer, with support for new 7- and 8-inch devices and Internet Explorer 11 built-in. Microsoft is also preparing a Blue update to its Windows Phone operating system and other services as a project to further integrate all of its software offerings.