Browser Plugin Offers Metro-Style Startscreen

Windows 8 is clearly a radical approach from previous versions of Windows thanks to its new “Windows Everywhere” approach. The newest version of Microsoft’s massively popular OS will make its way to tablets, desktops, notebooks, Microsoft Surface tables, and through embedded solutions even medical equipment, projectors, and possibly even the next Xbox console.

There are many things to love about Windows 8 such as faster boot times, less restarts, better search options, and ISO mounting. Although the OS brings plenty of new features to the table, arguably the biggest of these new features is the tablet-like interface known as Metro.

Metro features smart updating tiles, tablet optimized interfacing and flexible apps (or at least it will once the Marketplace shows up). Metro is very new to the desktop, tablet, and laptop world but it is very familiar to those of us that use Windows Phone 7.

While traditionally mobile versions of Windows have sought the goal of looking and feeling as close to the desktop/laptop versions of Windows as possible, the influence of smartphones and tablets have turned this philosophy upside down with desktop/laptops now trying to feel more like mobile devices.

There are many mixed opinions about Metro and personally I am still somewhat neutral. Metro looks pretty good but until more apps come out all I can say is that it has some serious potential. Many of our readers here at Windows8Upate might have already jumped ship to Windows Developer Preview, I certainly did. Although early adopting can be fun, it has plenty of risks if you tend to use it for productivity and isn’t for everybody.

If you’ve dreamed of using the Metro UI but don’t really want to install Windows 8 until either the Beta or the final release, you are in luck.  There is a new plugin called “EIGHT” for Firefox, Chrome, IE, and Safari which will allow you to set your browser start page so that it has the look and feel of Metro UI.

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This cool plugin was created by Ľubomír Krupa to give users a small taste of what UI looks like in action while giving easy access to your favorite websites and is basically just an alternative to the start screen found on most modern browsers. It is also a very highly customizable plugin as well.

Is this anything like the real METRO interface in Windows 8? Honestly, not really. It is more of a series of links to different web portals that has a Metro-feel to it. You might be wondering why you would even bother then.

If you don’t want to install Windows 8 but like the idea of at least getting a minor preview of what it would be like, this plugin is pretty cool. I’ve personally tried it and for web browsing it provides a unique twist.

Does it compare to Metro? No, not exactly but it is still worth playing around with at least until the Beta or Final version you are waiting for arrives.

If you are looking for something more powerful that mimics 8 further, such skins do exist throughout the net but they tend to be buggy and slow down Windows performance. This plugin won’t interfere with anything and is fairly easy to install.

My personal opinion is that if you want more than this mild taste of Metro, at least grab a virtual machine copy of Windows 8 and have a go. For those who don’t want all the effort? This is certainly better than nothing. To be honest I’ve installed in INSIDE of Windows 8 and use it as my Firefox start screen, so I have a Metro look and feel in Firefox and actually have the real deal.

What do you think about Metro? Does this plugin sound like something that would interest you? Share your thoughts below!

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