Windows 7 gets “Apple style” guided tours

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I’ve been a big fan of the guided tour videos Apple makes available soon after a new product launch. It’s an effective way of showing off a new product without looking like an advertisement, at the same time educating potential customers about the features of the product without a wordy manual or features list. Now Microsoft has a series of guided tours for Windows 7 too.

Similarly to the recent iPhone 3GS video, the Windows 7 videos too feature a charming employee who introduces and narrates the videos, in this case, Latika Kirtane. If the face looks familiar to you, that’s because you probably watched Latika sing in the now infamous Microsoft Research Songsmith video. Interestingly, according to her LinkedIn profile, she has since moved on from the Windows team to now work on Windows Internet Explorer.

In terms of the video production, it’s fascinating to see the use of Sims-like figures in the introduction of the videos. Each of the four videos feature slightly different themed scenarios related to the topic of the video. The style of the animations are also quite interesting, and if you think of all the other elements that’s been associated with the Windows 7 brand so far – butteries, birds, trees, sunshine – this might actually be a sneak peek at what to expect in the mainstream advertising campaigns.

34 insightful thoughts

  1. Finally! I also like the way Apple simplifies their presentations and break it down into feature sets for regular consumers to understand.

    I noticed this “I wanna be starting something” logo just now, was is like this a long time ago? :p

  2. Microsoft should really make a site with all that cool wallpapers shown in their video – I love the one with flowery windows logo :)

  3. Search to open docs and applications. Dock like Taskbar. These things are so 2005 (Tiger).

    Apple=Microsoft’s R&D department. Congratulations Microsoft. That 90% plus market-share is well earned.

  4. thanks xiphi :)

    anybody notice the OS font in the video looked different? It does not look like Segoe. Looks better if you ask me.

  5. Carlos – how’s the weather in the reality distortion field today? =)

    FYI, the taskbar has very little in common with the dock. The dock is an app launcher, the taskbar is a window manager + app launcher. If you’re referring to the fact that is has larger icons and no text, welcome to Windows 1.0 (or a dozen other things before OS X). Also you could do large icons for quick launch in previous versions of Windows, it just wasn’t the default setting as it is now.

    As for searching to launch programs, that’s been a part of Windows since Windows XP with WDS – which came before Spotlight. In fact, Apple didn’t make Spotlight an app launcher until Leopard, after that feature was integrated into the start menu in Vista.

  6. “Tour”? Tour my aunt fainne! I like those Apple tours (my favorite is the Mac OS X Leopard tour) but Microsoft’s videos are so short.

    I do like that Microsoft uses its own employees to show their products, unlike Apple that uses actors(?).

  7. @Carlos: In addition to what Brandon said, Windows Longhorn working concepts have had live, indexed searching at least a full year before Tiger was released.

    On Topic: I always thought that Apple’s guided tours were too . . . sanitized. I wish Windows would go in a different direction by using natural voice inflections, as well as some color. Apple’s videos are all white, clean, sterile . . . and I swear that sometimes I hear in the background, some mechanical voice claiming through a loudspeaker that, “everything is fine, please remain calm during The Transition. You will be happier once Apple has taken over.”

    They’ve always creeped me out with that stuff. It’s only recently that they stopped making all their products completely white, although now it seems they’ve taken pages from HP’s design book. I guess it’s better than the all white, though. Scary.

  8. The girl is a great voice actor and it is fantastic that Microsoft are offering these types of videos. The girl did seem pretty jittery to me though. Her hand movements were quite rigid and jerky, rather than slow and concise, made it seem she was anxious to talk about it. Still great videos, I look forward to the progression.

  9. Hrmm, This idea is really cool, but The stuff she mentioned that was ‘new’ in Windows 7 were mostly also in Windows VISTA!

    The Search in start menu was in Vista as well as Windows Media centre…

  10. Microsoft knows Apple is better, that’s why they copy them like a cat.

    It’s just too funny… Gadgets, Superbar, Microsoft Guru, Microsoft stores…many others… and now guided tours?

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