If you remember Windows Flip 3D in Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft has just patented its successor called “Windows Viewer.” Apparently this feature builds upon the old Flip 3D feature and is similar to the Apple OSX Mission Control feature.
Microsoft has recently patented a new feature that “builds on an older, now-abandoned feature in Windows Vista and Windows 7.” Published on April 11th by the USPTO, it shows and explains the new way that lets users view the current open windows and lets them cycle through them until they find the one of their choosing. Dubbed “System and Method for Visually Browsing of Open Windows” it appears to be a follow-up to and possible replacement for Flip and Flip 3D which is related to what has been seen in Windows Vista and Windows 7 (Press Win key + Tab key in Windows Vista or Windows 7!)
The difference between Flip 3D and the “new guy” is that this one will maintain “the relative sizes of open windows” instead of the equal sized ones, including free-formed ordering that would “spread the reduced-size windows across the screen.” Microsoft is also working on creating a new set of key combinations for this to work, similar to Win+Tab and Alt+Tab (which has been pressed since Windows 95!).
According to the information on the patent, Microsoft hopes to make it “reminiscent of the OS X feature once called “Exposé” which was later called (in OS X Lion) “Mission Control” in 2011. Microsoft also stated in the document, “While Exposé allows the user to view open windows simultaneously, multiple windows are tiled on the screen, which can still lead to some confusion,” the document read. “It would be helpful to provide an interface which allows a user to scan quickly through open windows, one at a time.”
In the photo above, (included from the source) it shows a button on the bottom left hand corner. It is unsure if this picture was taken from the Windows Flip 3D patent or the most recent patent, but if it is, it looks almost similar to a “start button” and it could be that this is what Microsoft is working on for the future.