Microsoft is testing Windows 11 desktop widgets with a web search bar

Microsoft is adding optional web search to the Windows 11 desktop in the latest Insider Preview build of the operating system. The company describes the feature as “light interactive content” – the first, it says, of many such tools it plans to add to Windows 11 – but let’s call the thing what it really is: a widget. .

Not everyone signed up for the latest Windows 11 preview build won’t see the new search box, but anyone who likes and dislikes it can disable the feature by right-clicking the desktop, selecting “Show more options,” then toggling “Show search.”

If you’re running the latest preview build, you’ll also need to restart your computer to give the search box a chance to show up.

Is this a useful feature? Probably for some, and probably not for others. This is a web search rather than a system search (which you can add to the taskbar in Windows 10 and 11 for easy access), and might be useful if you need to extract content quickly after starting your machine from scratch. But most people I suspect have at least one browser window open at all times and will probably find it easier to search from there than to go to the desktop. (A cynic might note that this is also another way Microsoft is steering users to Edge and Bing.)

Either way, it’s interesting to see the company playing around with desktop widgets, instead of bundling these tools into a separate panel (read more in our Windows 11 review).

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