Giving cool real estate products, tools and news a Big Encore

Microsoft’s Windows 8 has hit the market recently, and it has received  mixed reviews from both computer professionals and consumers, notably due to its unique interface and lack of a start button. However, it does some cool interactive things that will make social media easier, especially if you are a real estate professional trying to market your business and keep in touch with clients.

The main screen for Windows 8 looks a lot like the one on a smart phone. It consists of a series of colorful boxes (dubbed “tiles”), each with a program, special application or feature. You can pull up the weather by clicking on the weather box, check out your Netflix account by scrolling over and clicking on the app for it, and switch all of the tiles around so that the ones that you use the most are closest to the front.

And if you want to switch back over a more traditional interface, one that looks a lot like Windows 7 (minus the start button, of course) is included, so you can flip between the two as you see fit. Here are a few of the other things that Windows 8 has:

- Pictures. The pictures tile has not only all of the pictures that you’ve uploaded to your computer, but also all of the ones from your social media accounts. For example, you will be able to locate  a picture of yourself (or a property) that you posted to Facebook from your cell phone without having to physically right-click and download that picture to your computer.

- Contacts. The contacts tile is a listing of all of your email contacts, as well as all of your social media ones. You won’t have to log into your Facebook account and search for a particular email address or phone number, since they will be right on your fingertips, almost literally, if you upgrade to a tablet PC running the software.

- Social Media.  The social media tile makes it easy to update all of your account at once, and allows you to keep tabs on all of your followers and friends. While there are programs out there that do this very thing (like HootSuite) it’s nice to have this option included.

- Skydrive. One of the most useful things included in Windows 8 is Skydrive. Yes, Microsoft has finally caught on to the “cloud” concept and has created a place where you can save everything, without having to resort to your hard drive alone.

While Windows 8 seems to be designed for a tablet computer, it does run on non-touch-screen laptops, and there are a number of them available for sale. It does take some practice in order to use this operating system to its full capabilities, so we suggest playing with it in the store before deciding whether or not to upgrade.