clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Microsoft wants to put ads on the Windows 10 lock screen

New, 99 comments

Microsoft is unveiling a new lock screen for Windows 10 today that will change over time and customize itself based on how each person uses their computer. The new lock screen is optional, but if you do enable it, you'll see something a lot like the Bing homepage: a beautiful image provided by Microsoft with a number of hot spots on it that you can mouse over for more information. It's not quite the same, however. On the lock screen, it sounds like the image will change closer to once a week, and those hot spots will also provide tips on how to use Windows and suggestions for what apps you might want to download. These are effectively ads, though they blend in with the other information on screen.

Tips and apps are customized to how you use Windows

The new lock screen is being called Windows Spotlight. "We are able ... to understand what your use of the PC is" to provide personalized suggestions, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore says. If someone has recently gotten a Windows 10 computer and hasn't tried Cortana yet, Belfiore explained that Spotlight might change their desktop to a Cortana-like image and include tips on how to use the personal assistant. If someone with a tablet hadn't used their stylus, Spotlight might display an image highlighting drawing apps. In his demonstration, Spotlight prompted users to download the Fresh Paint app. That's one of Microsoft's own apps, but Belfiore emphasized that this is about introducing users to the entire Windows ecosystem — a similar app suggestion slot is being placed right in the Start menu, too.

It's an interesting idea for how Microsoft can get people more engaged with Windows and market apps to them at the same time. The nice images are a big bonus, too, though it's hard to imagine how long people will stick around if Spotlight ends up being more about getting you to download apps than showing you something truly interesting.