In one video (removed by Microsoft but re-uploaded by someone else) Microsoft's Human-Computer Interaction Group researcher Jiawei Gu demonstrates new live tile functionality activated by tapping a corner of the tiles.
This allows him to browse through a list of his emails, for example, without needing to open the app. The emails pop up in a widget-style box right on the Start screen.
Gu also shows a new interactive desktop tile that lets users open desktop apps from the Windows 8 Start screen, rather than needing to open the full desktop first. The interactive Live Tiles can also be run alongside other apps, again resembling widgets, Gu shows.
"In Windows 8 Modern UI, the live tiles right on your start screen get you closer to the things that matter most," Gu says in the video.
He continues, "In this project we designed interactive tiles which enable users to manipulate Live Tiles in an interactive way with touch gestures, with aims to provide a seamless experience in the start screen across all Microsoft devices."
The interactive tiles were reportedly described on the official Microsoft Research site before that was also taken down.
"Interactive Tile's UI is responsive and flexible to an app's content and function," the site read. "With a perception of Start as an entrance page, Interactive Tiles were introduced to empower the Start screen with an intermediate access level to applications."
As a Microsoft Research project these interactive Live Tiles may never actually appear in Windows, but the fact that Microsoft was so quick to take the videos and the site description down may hint otherwise.
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Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.
Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.