I never thought I’d actually say this but after months of alternating between Windows 10 and Windows 11 for day-to-day workflows on my main machine – on which I dual boot both operating systems – , I missed the integration of News and Interests with the Taskbar in Windows 11.
Let me be clear right away, I don’t use News and Interests from the Taskbar on Windows 10 on a daily basis, but that information is always there, I’m not hiding it. Although it sounds extremely mundane, I find it oddly relaxing from time to time when I glance at the current temperature. It also took up some small talk as I shared my screen with some overseas clients and colleagues and they certainly pointed out how hot/cold is currently in my country.
In addition to this widget, I also have the option to click on the temperature information in the Taskbar, which will then open a dedicated window on the left where I can view weather trends, entertainment news , stock rates and more. I want to stress that this is not something I do every day, but I don’t have any complaints about the information being available if I need it. It’s non-intrusive and sometimes helpful in keeping up to date with the latest happenings.
Microsoft has completely revamped this experience in Windows 11, and News and Interests no longer “integrates” with the Taskbar in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, that section has been split into a dedicated app called Widgets that are still grouped as Taskbar icons, but act as a separate app. When you click on it, it opens to the left of the screen instead of the right, and actually contains more information than what’s available in Windows 10.
I detailed my Widgets experience in a Closer Look article on the subject a few months ago, so it won’t take me too long to re-read the familiar background. Functionally, it offers more capabilities and integrations than what’s available in Windows 10, but overall, I feel like it takes up too much screen space (as can be seen in the screenshots below). above) and significantly more intrusive than its predecessor.
But perhaps my main complaint is that it doesn’t feel native of the Taskbar too. It’s actually a separate app. You cannot configure it to display weather information all the time on the Taskbar, nor can you drag it into a less intrusive space on your desktop.
I know that not everyone will feel this the same way as it is such a small feature and the reason I missed it seems to be quite mundane and subjective. For example, I consider the bottom right of the screen to be less intrusive space, but maybe someone prefers to have the Widget take up half of their screen on the left side. Personally, I find it annoying that Widgets open on the left because they hide most of the icons if you have them enabled on the desktop, or take up most of the “useful” screen space if you’re doing other things in the background. background . In my opinion, it shouldn’t be as distracting as this.
In fact, some eagle-eyed viewers may also notice that the temperature is set to degrees Celsius (my preference) in the Windows 10 screenshot but is set to degrees Fahrenheit in the screenshot Windows 11. This is not something I did on purpose or even by mistake, it just underscores my disinterest in the Widgets part of its current implementation, proving that I am even I don’t even bother setting it up to my liking.
One thing I find rather strange is that the News and Interests integration on Windows 10 is not really an old feature. It was launched at the end of April for the operating system while Windows 11 was announced in June, about two months later. However, we still get a completely different experience, making it feel like both are designed by different teams even though they are already available to users nearby, in terms of release.
Overall, this difference in experience raises some questions for me. Did internal Microsoft testing reveal that the Widget experience in Windows 11 is better than News and Interests in Windows 10? Or is this enhancement just a way to further differentiate between the two operating systems? Will the company explore the option of unifying its experience and, perhaps, offering more customization of Widget placement and Taskbar integration in the future? I hope that one day Microsoft will answer these questions, but for now, I really miss integrating News and Interests with the Taskbar when using Windows 11.
Do you use News and Interests or Gadgets respectively in Windows 10 and Windows 11? If so, what do you think about discrete user experience? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below!