Timeline

Arguably the biggest feature new feature for Windows 10 is one aimed squarely at productivity. Timeline is part of the Task view feature that was previously in Windows 10, and accessed in the same way, either by clicking the icon on the task bar, or pressing Win + Tab. The idea of Timeline is to make it very easy to get back into a task you were doing previously or find some information you know you had open in a browser.

Sorry for the poor screenshot but Timeline isn't working for me

By default, Timeline is only set to go back a single day, and apps will be sorted by hour. You can optionally enable it to go back 30 days as well, which seems like a more useful method to have as the default.

You can also adjust how Timeline works in the Privacy settings. When enabled, Timeline will sync activities from this PC, and also sync them to the cloud, so you can access documents and information across devices. But if you’d rather not have that data collected, you can disable the cloud sync, the local PC activity collection, or both.

Focus Assist

Another feature added with the April Update which focuses on keeping you focused is Focus Assist. After clamoring for notifications on the PC after seeing their benefit in mobile, it quickly became apparent that, while useful, notifications can also be a distraction.

In previous versions of Windows 10, Microsoft offers a Quiet Hours feature where you could set the PC to not provide notifications depending on the time, but with Focus Assist, that ability is expanded upon.

In addition to being able to schedule a time when notifications are muted, you can now change what level of notifications come through, with a custom priority list. You could in theory mute all notifications except those you want to see, which sounds fairly useful, or you could just set a time where you want to get some work done and only have alarms appear.

There’s also additional new automatic rules for notification action when duplicating a display, which will be very beneficial to avoid embarrassing notifications when using a projector, as well as when gaming.

Enabled by default is also a summary of notifications that were missed while focus assist was on, so if you were gaming, you’ll get a handy summary of everything that happened while you were having some fun, so you can get back to work.

This is of course still coupled with the notification settings where you can enable or disable notifications per-app.

Focus Assist is the kind of feature that Windows 10 needs. Notifications are great, but they can be distracting when you’re trying to get some work done. It would be great if Microsoft added some more settings here to allow you to create more automatic rules, such as when you have an app open, or additional time slots rather than just the single time you can enable it now.

Introduction Microsoft Edge Updates: PWA Support And More
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  • stuffwhy - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    I'm happy to have a small, feature light update. Even if it isn't the case, it serves to make me feel that the focus is more toward the core of the software, and not bolting things on additionally. Personally, I rarely engage in any new features, especially anything in Edge, so less time interrupted by installing smaller updates is ok to me. Reply
  • Duncan Macdonald - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    Even better - 10 yearly intervals. Please Microsoft - leave it alone - no more interface tweaks and compatibility problems. There is no benefit to the users from the changes and there is a cost to M$ to produce them so why keep doing it.
    All that is wanted is bugfixes and driver updates - leave everything else alone.
    (In case anyone thinks that I am saying Windows 10 is perfect - I am not - however I do not believe that it is within the capability of Microsoft to make it better - just different and worse.)
    Reply
  • Holliday75 - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    I guess we'll see how much they value your opinion the next couple of years. Reply
  • ಬುಲ್ವಿಂಕಲ್ ಜೆ ಮೂಸ್ - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    We have been waiting 37 years to see how much they value our opinion....

    Are you sure its only a couple more?
    Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - link

    Oh, they've shown us plenty of times in the last 37 year how much (or little) they value our opinion. Of course, we'll get to see how much they (still don't?) value our opinion in just 6 months with the next update. Though, I doubt it will be any different than the current update, or the six months prior to that, ... Reply
  • JCB994 - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    Is this the update from a few weeks ago? Never could get it to complete the install. Would get almost done and then suddenly uninstall. Finally downloaded an MS program to bypass updates. I have the HP Envy x360 with Ryzen 2500u. No problem downloading and installing on my other PCs (Dell Alienware Aurora R1 and Dell Precision 7510). Reply
  • Duncan Macdonald - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    With GDPR Microsoft will need to drastically revise their data collection. As it stands their telemetry is incompatible with GDPR as it collects data without informed consent and without the ability to say NO. A fine of 4% of their global turnover might get the Microsoft board to actually care about protecting privacy. Reply
  • haplo602 - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    As long as MS is collecting only non-identifiable data, they don't need any consent .... Reply
  • ಬುಲ್ವಿಂಕಲ್ ಜೆ ಮೂಸ್ - Friday, May 25, 2018 - link

    Fake News! Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Saturday, May 26, 2018 - link

    I don't see how "all my browsing history and every task I have ever done on any of my devices including what I looked at, in chronological order" is non-personally-identifiable data. Reply

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