Speed Launch From Microsoft Office Labs Is An Interesting Launcher
Speed Launch is created by Microsoft’s Office Labs. The office labs is one experimental arm of Microsoft that is sometimes not too busy on the public side and develops products that one may not necessarily associate with the company. Speed Launch is perhaps one such example and is a program that has many other freeware equivalents.
Upon installation Speed Launch places a bulls eye looking icon on the desktop that stays on top of all windows but dims to stay as unobtrusive as possible. Using the win + c keys the program pops up a set of what it calls functions. The set of built-in functions can be activated by clicking on them. They allow for such things as searching for weather forecasts and wikipedia pages.
Being a launcher Speed Launch has an interesting way to make routine tasks easier. Dragging and dropping any shortcut, file or site favicon into the bulls eye allows the user to associate an intuitive keyword with it and to later use it to open the same program, document or website. Keywords can also be added manually via the program’s ‘Add Shortcuts’ menu (by right clicking on the bulls eye).
Speed Launch also supports more advanced functions. These are the equivalent of launching a program or website – that has a shortcut created in Speed Launch – with parameters. One example used in the video on the program’s website shows how by choosing a keyword followed by “.” (dot without quotes) one can make a function that loads a map of a certain location without the need to enter the map’s homepage and then typing the desired location. It is therefore and like any other program launcher a way to save time and key strokes. Another interesting feature built-in is what is called the MegaSearch. Typing megaseach. and a search term launches the query in bing.com, yahoo.com and google.com. Again something not readily associated with Microsoft of the past.
Office Labs calls Speed Launch a ‘prototype’ and requires the user to allow anonymous usage feedback, however I am not certain if this program is being very actively developed as it is termed a grassroots project that is a ‘direct result of employee initiative’.