Introduced back in October 2014 when the first preview build of Windows 10 was released to the public, membership grew quickly to over a million over the course of a couple of weeks.
We have had one of these unbelievable experiences with our Windows 10 Insider program. We count over 10M Windows Insiders today, many of them fans, who test and use the latest build of Windows 10 on a daily basis. Their feedback comes fast and furious, they have a relentless bar of what they expect, but it so inspires our team and drives our very focus on a daily basis.
The Windows Insider program started out as a way for Windows enthusiasts (and professionals), to run development versions of the Windows 10 operating system.
For members, it meant that they could explore new versions of the operating system before release, for instance to check out new features and capabilities, or make sure that compatibility was not an issue.
For Microsoft, it means a treasure trove of telemetry data. The company runs its own tests on Windows 10 builds, but even a fairly large organization like Microsoft cannot test all device configurations that float around these days.
Pushing builds out to -- now -- over 10 million members gives Microsoft better data. That's probably the main reason why the company introduced the Windows Insider program.
Users may report issues to Microsoft, and give feedback on certain things. The Feedback Hub, a Windows 10 application that is delivered with Insider Builds, is the main way to do so. Microsoft monitors user input, but there is no guarantee that the company will act on it.
We love to see the Insider feedback pouring in. Seeing all your input creates a great energy across the Windows team. We sort through it, figure out what is already known and what is new, and then reshape our product backlogs based on what we learn. In one of our team rooms, we put up a large screen that cycles through incoming feedback. It shows the incoming feedback rate, and highlights trending feedback. Our team gathers around it during our daily meeting. We talk about features we’re building in the Windows Feedback app, and what we’re doing to help all of the feature teams in OSG identify top feedback requests in their areas.
Things still go wrong, even with 10 million beta testers as the past couple of months have shown.
The program has evolved ever since it was introduced. Microsoft started to develop it, and evolved it into a community of like minded individuals.
The company revealed the Windows Insider Program for IT Professionals recently which will be launched soon. A registration form is already available on the linked website above. Microsoft plans to offer new software tools, and a community "to serve IT professionals around the world" with the new program.
The Insider Program is a success for Microsoft, there is no doubt about that. The company gains valuable telemetry data and user feedback thanks to the -- now -- more than 10 million beta testers in the Fast, Slow and Preview release channels of the program.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.