Windows 11 Preview Build 25120 (opens in a new tab) now available in the Developer channel of the Windows Insider Program. The beta build doesn’t bring much that’s completely new to the operating system. However, the build introduces an optional web search bar located in the center of the screen. The search bar can be beneficial for some users, but others may find it completely unnecessary.
This search bar is similar to the search bar currently located in the Widgets panel on Windows 11. You won’t be shocked to learn that the new search bar is powered by Bing, Microsoft’s own search engine. Like ZDNet (opens in a new tab) reports, users say that search results open in Microsoft Edge and not whatever browser you have set as default. It certainly won’t open in Internet Explorer, won’t exist in Windows 11 outside of the legacy viewer in Edge. Currently, it doesn’t appear that you can change the search engine this search box uses.
The widgets tab is on the far left of the taskbar and can also be summoned by pressing the Windows key + W. As we said in our Windows 11 review, widgets can be useful for some people but we find them redundant and difficult to configure. I disabled widgets after installing Windows 11 and have never missed them. This new search bar is similar in that respect.
While this search bar isn’t a bad idea at all, it’s hard to imagine someone choosing to use it in lieu of their search engine on their favorite web browser. I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly a fan of Microsoft Edge or Bing. In fact, I’ve probably used Bing a few times. But I suppose Edge and Bing users might appreciate having an easier-to-access search bar. In that sense, this new search bar could be a big change.
This feature is currently in beta and may never be part of an upcoming Windows 11 update. With that said, it’s good to see Microsoft continue to test new features on its latest operating system and gauge user feedback to see which ones will be made public. At the moment, Windows 11 is not an important upgrade for Windows 10 users, but it could turn out to be an impressive operating system in the future.