Microsoft Store gets a much-needed boost (and ads)
During Build 2022, Microsoft highlighted some of the improvements it plans to roll out to the virtual Microsoft Store. The Store, which the company introduced in Windows 8 and refined in Windows 10, has had its ups and downs since its first release.
For the first five years of Windows 10’s existence, it wasn’t really something to brag about. Microsoft’s emphasis on universal platform applications and ignoring traditional desktop programs has resulted in many developers and users ignoring it.
The opening of the store for traditional Windows apps and the release of Windows 11 has improved the availability of apps and programs on the store. The store now houses popular applications, including Firefox, OpenOffice, Epic Games or Discord. Although still missing many apps, this is an improvement over previous years. Microsoft has also rolled out an update to the web interface.
Microsoft plans to use this momentum to further improve its virtual store. In addition to opening the store to all Win32 developers, Microsoft announcement the following improvements to its store:
- The ability to restore applications.
- Improved visibility in Windows Search.
- Microsoft Store Ads programs.
The possibility of restoring applications is probably the main novelty from the user’s point of view. Although it has been possible to restore individual apps since the release of the Store, it has never been possible until now to restore apps in bulk.
If you work on multiple devices or want to migrate from one device to another, you will end up restoring individual apps. If you have installed dozens or even more, you will spend a lot of time doing this.
Microsoft Store’s new App Restore feature improves on this. It allows users to restore all apps or select apps using the Store interface, across all their devices. Third-party solutions, such as Windows Package Manager, can also be used to bulk install apps.
When users enter the name of an app in search, it may not be returned immediately if it is not installed. Windows Search may list web results, if they have not been disabled, but no direct call to action is available at this time.
The search integration highlights available apps when users type in the search box. There is a direct “get from store” option for returned apps to improve discoverability.
The feature will soon land in Windows Insider builds according to Microsoft.
Microsoft Store Ads
Microsoft Store Ads are available to developers who have published at least one app to the Microsoft Store. Developers can create ad campaigns to target specific users on the device. Microsoft explains that a developer of a music-making app could advertise the app to Windows users who like or make music. Ads are displayed in the Microsoft Store, for example when users search for apps.
Now you: do you use the Microsoft Store? What do you think of the announced features?