Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott have posted a second look at some of the early changes which have surface in Windows 8 milestone 3. First there was the restyled Welcome Screen, and now it appears that Microsoft is toying with bringing the Ribbon UI to Explorer.
The Ribbon, like in Microsoft Word and Excel, is context-aware, adding tabs for specific tasks which apply to the folder you’re viewing — such as library or picture management. You can also make out two new buttons in the status bar, which allow you to change the current folder’s view style.
It’s clear from all the placeholder images and repeated elements that this is very much a work in progress, but featuring the Ribbon more prominently in Windows 8 would certainly be a logical progression for Microsoft. It’s slowly become more ubiquitous, moving beyond Office and into Wordpad, Paint, and several of the Windows Live Essentials applications.
There’s more to the screenshots than the Ribbon UI, however. Our friend Long Zheng has noted two interesting elements in the images: Web sharing and sync (image after the break). That would likely mean users will be able to quickly upload files to SkyDrive and synchronize using Live Mesh right from Explorer in Windows 8. That’s not a total surprise considering many of the earliest leaked images of Windows 8 showed Windows Live integration on the desktop.