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Massive Windows Insider build finally adds Timeline and Sets, revamps My People and more

On Tuesday, Microsoft formally added Timeline and Sets to Windows 10 as part of a massive Windows 10 Insider build that reworks My People and Cortana with under-the-hood improvements such as more detailed display descriptions and Windows Update taskbar icons.

Windows Insider builds typically add a grab bag of features that Microsoft’s development teams are separately introducing, but Build 17063 for the Fast Ring will have a ripple effect throughout Windows. Not only has Timeline been introduced, but Cortana will now encourage you to pick up where you left off and record your past activities.

Some users will also begin to see Sets, the new way of ordering what was previously multiple windows inside a new tabbed interface. Under the hood, Insiders will also begin to see more Fluent Shell additions throughout Windows, the name Microsoft has given for the UI improvements that include its new “acrylic” texturing. My People has also been tweaked, so that users can now drag and drop contacts, and rearrange them. And diving deeper, a new advanced display page will even list the “active” desktop resolution.

Why this matters: Insiders have waited for the big builds of Redstone 4 to begin arriving, and now they’re here. If nothing else, it will give Windows 10 fans something to do during the holidays. And when will the rest of you get this? Most likely as part of the “Redstone 4” build, due sometime this spring.

Timeline’s impact on Cortana, Task View and Sets

In late November, Microsoft unveiled Sets, a new way of organizing windows that goes hand-in-hand with the Timeline feature Microsoft originally planned for the Fall Creators Update. With Build 17063, those features have arrived.

Timeline basically reworks Task View, the little-used feature that allowed users to create “virtual desktops” of grouped applications. Now, Timeline—whose new icon will replace Task View on the taskbar, or can be opened by WIN + TAB—will keep track of what apps and pages you were using, and when. Scrolling back through Timeline and clicking on a file or webpage, naturally, will open it.

One of the goals of Timeline is to organize your tasks into activities, so that related apps and files are grouped together. Don’t worry—Microsoft isn’t watching you to see what apps or files you’re using. Timeline will attempt to group items into an activity view based on criteria including what you’ve been using over the last hour. The activities are searchable, and organizable by account.

Windows 10 17063 timeline search Microsoft

Tmeline’s searchable, too.

Cortana’s now aware of those activities, too, and will more actively suggest which files and apps you were using on another device, including your phone. Separately, Cortana’s Notebook has been reworked: Now called Organizer, it lists your reminders and to-do lists. (An earlier build added a Cortana capability called Collections, where Microsoft suggests potential interests. That’s still there, but lists and Collections have also been combined, somewhat confusingly.)

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