Windows 11 preview updates have brought many new features to test on the platform. Some are as great as the HDR slider (opens in a new tab)and others not so much, like when it recently broke some Microsoft Store apps (opens in a new tab). But that’s what preview updates are for, allowing Microsoft to test ideas to see what works and what doesn’t in front of a small group of consumers. The current internal build holds such a feature, which many users are hoping it won’t include in the official release.
According to The Register (opens in a new tab), Microsoft has kindly added a search box widget to the Windows 11 desktop in the Developer Channel of update 25120. When entered, this box will generate multiple drop-down options, aided by the search engine. Bing by Microsoft and displayed in Microsoft Edge. It will also ignore the default browser settings, so even if they are updated, the search bar will still default to Microsoft programs.
Windows Insider Blog (opens in a new tab) says “We’re happy to hear your feedback on this engagement model, so please use the Feedback Hub to provide feedback if you get this test.” They will definitely get a response. Many users won’t like Bing and Edge being pushed in their face again, especially right on their own desktop.
Thankfully, the feature can be turned off quite easily, but in this iteration it seems to be enabled by default. It’s also just a preview build feature being tested, so hopefully it won’t actually release, especially given the understandable backlash from some testers. While only a limited number of insiders had the pleasure of experiencing the search bar, it was a rather uncommon move, I’m pretty wary on Twitter (opens in a new tab).
But Windows 11 users aren’t the only ones annoyed by this new feature. Rival browsers have let down (opens in a new tab) due to Microsoft handling default browser options in Windows 11, so if the feature appears on other builds, it won’t just be customers complaining.
Looks like this is just the first test of one of many planned iterations of interactive content on the Windows 11 desktop. If Microsoft chooses to go ahead with more widget-style experiments, hopefully they’ll build on it. with more software than just its own. Cute UI animations, (opens in a new tab) fewer product placements.