Windows 10 Preview 20206 focuses on input with Voice Typing, Emoji Search

There has been a lot of talk about Windows 10's upcoming new look but looking at screens isn't the only thing you do at your computer. Even if just browsing content, there will always come a time when you will have to type in something, be it a website address or a response to a message. In line with upcoming changes to Microsoft's operating system, Windows 10's input methods are also getting a major upgrade, including the ability to type without typing at all.

Windows has long had a dictation feature but, while already useful, it was basic as basic can be. With a new "Voice Typing" name, Microsoft is giving the feature not only a visual refresh but new features like automatic punctuation and, more importantly, the promise of an improved backend for a more reliable and accurate speech to text translation. The new voice typing supports English, French, German, and even Simplified Chinese, among others at launch.

Some things, however, are better said not with words but with pictures. And as far as expressive pictures go, emojis and GIFs definitely take the cake. Windows 10 will feature a new emoji picker that also lets you search for those whimsical animated GIFs as well. The latter is powered by Tenor and, therefore, requires an active Internet connection to work.

In addition to these completely new features, Microsoft is also giving its good old touch keyboard some new features and a new look, one that will match Windows 10's more colorful palette. From integrating the new emoji picker to adding a voice typing button to making the virtual spacebar an ad hoc touchpad for cursor movement, the new touch keyboard promises to make typing on a screen a bit less painful.

These new input features are available in the Preview Build number 20206 for Windows 10 Insiders, though some may see unannounced features that others can't. When these will land on stable will probably still depend if they make it through testing without a hitch and whether Microsoft will roll it out in the upcoming "maintenance" update around October.