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Windows 10 is getting the GIF search feature we didn’t know we needed

Microsoft is boosting the communication tools in Windows 10 with an integrated GIF search and improvements to the voice typing feature.

The GIF search is arriving as part of an evolved emoji picker, which Microsoft has been slowly enhancing over the last three years. Users will be able to use the WIN + [.] and WIN + [;] keyboard shortcuts to open up the GIF interface to access a selection of rotating animated files. There’ll also be an inline search option to access your favourite reactions.

The GIF search has become a common feature within social networks and some keyboard apps on mobile, so it’s good to see it arrive on the desktop. Microsoft isn’t saying who is providing the GIFs at this time.

However, all GIF merriment aside, perhaps the more useful addition is the improved dictation / voice typing feature Microsoft is bringing to Windows 10 in the near future.

In a blog post on Thursday, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc writes: “Windows voice typing is the new and improved version of Windows dictation that enables you to type effortlessly with your voice wherever there’s a text field on your PC. Sometimes, using your voice is more comfortable and efficient than typing on a keyboard – with Windows voice typing, you can relax your hands and just say what you want to write.”

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The company is promising auto punctuation, a modern design optimised for use with touch keyboards and an updated ‘back end’. The company says it’ll work with a healthy array of languages, including UK and US English.

Elsewhere, in preparation for devices like the Surface Neo and to benefit current Surface owners, Microsoft is boosting the touch keyboard design. Right now the features are in preview with Windows Insiders beta testers, but we’d expect them to hit the main operating system later this year or early in 2021.