Microsoft is testing a news and weather widget for the Windows 10 taskbar

Polycount

Posts: 2,862   +575
Staff member
In brief: Windows 10's "sweeping visual rejuvenation" is probably still a ways away, but we'll have plenty of smaller feature updates to test out in the interim. One such update is the new, combined weather/news taskbar widget available to Windows 10 insiders.

The widget does just what you'd expect: when you click on it (it'll show up to the left of all your smaller taskbar icons), it pulls up a large info panel that you can scroll through and interact with. This panel will show you the latest headlines and stories, relevant stock prices, upcoming sports events, and the local weather in your area.

When the panel is minimized, it only displays an at-a-glance view of the weather, as you can see below. Unlike some of Microsoft's other Windows features, this new taskbar button actually looks pretty useful.

It should let you briefly catch yourself up on the latest goings-on in the world (or at least your local area) without distracting yourself from the task at hand.

If a particular topic does catch your eye enough for you to want a more in-depth article, clicking on a headline will take you right to the source article via Microsoft Edge. It's unclear whether you can change that default to Firefox or Chrome.

You may also choose to personalize your feed a bit, if you're tired of, say, getting bombarded with stories about Covid-19 or the price of Bitcoin. To do so, you just click the three-dot menu at the top right of a given widget and select the "Less stories like this" option. If you enjoy the stories you're receiving, you can select "More stories like this" instead.

This feature will almost certainly roll out to the general Windows userbase in the future since it appears to be quite polished, but if you want to test it early, you can. To do so, you can start by joining the Windows Insider program and snagging Build 21286 in the Dev Channel.

You'll also need a copy of Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser installed (it doesn't have to be your default browser), and you must live in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, or India.

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brucek

Posts: 811   +1,130
TechSpot Elite
I understand both that this does not yet apply to anyone running released, and that all details are subject to change between dev and release.

That said, should Microsoft be signaling that it is considering making this a non-optional part of the taskbar (I.e., the ad display space is being considered as part of the Windows business model), I personally would consider that signal to be quite newsworthy.

Mostly though, my comment was meant to indicate my personal preference in what I most want from Microsoft in this feature area, which is nothing.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,171   +554
I understand both that this does not yet apply to anyone running released, and that all details are subject to change between dev and release.

That said, should Microsoft be signaling that it is considering making this a non-optional part of the taskbar (I.e., the ad display space is being considered as part of the Windows business model), I personally would consider that signal to be quite newsworthy.

Mostly though, my comment was meant to indicate my personal preference in what I most want from Microsoft in this feature area, which is nothing.
Then dont comment and enjoy Apple. MS is going to do what is best for them which is what the majority of companies do.
 

brucek

Posts: 811   +1,130
TechSpot Elite
I am not sure what would be wrong with me commenting either as a participant on an enthusiast site discussing a news article, or as a Microsoft customer discussing a potential change in the product I license?

You are of course correct that sellers and buyers will each act to their interests within contractual agreements.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,171   +554
I am not sure what would be wrong with me commenting either as a participant on an enthusiast site discussing a news article, or as a Microsoft customer discussing a potential change in the product I license?

You are of course correct that sellers and buyers will each act to their interests within contractual agreements.
First you are whinning over ms making changes. Get over it, adapt or move on. You have no say so in the licensing that MS does. Sure you can talk about it but ranting or whinning isnt helpful nor will it change anything.

MS or any company will make changes to their product thats best for them and the majority of their customers. There will always be people who complain over features or changes but they are also in the minority.
 

madboyv1

Posts: 1,694   +608
The first and foremost "sweeping visual rejuvenation" change I want is to be able to completely customize the size of the pinned to start menu section of said Start Menu. Currently the smallest it gets is 3 medium tiles wide. I'd love to make it 1 small tile wide but I'm not allowed to have nice things.
 

brucek

Posts: 811   +1,130
TechSpot Elite
I am sorry texasrattler, I see we both have plenty of posts here, I'm not sure why you think I am not allowed to comment here nor why whatever that reason is would not also apply to you. For me, I'm happy if we both express our opinion of this feature. If you like it, feel free to say so, I won't object. I will continue to say that I do not want my desktop spammed with advertising, and should it come to pass in release, to discuss what I am sure will be multiple avenues of thwarting it.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,789   +6,142
Sure you can talk about it but ranting or whinning isnt helpful nor will it change anything.
I certainly didn't take his question as "ranting or whining". Let me ask again. Does it come with an off switch? Ohhh you were referring to his second comment. That wasn't a rant or whining either. He was corresponding to a response of his first comment. The only one I see here whining is you. Because someone doesn't like MS forcing trashy code on everyone.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,423   +1,569
Looks great, but the placement of the window is horrible.
Doesn't look right behind the taskbar and neither does the gap between the window and right edge of the screen. Looks lazy and basic. I hope a window animation change is also coming. Windows works well, but it's boring to use. Vista's transparency and glowing min/restore/exit buttons on windows still looked better than any other version of windows. MS should start there and expand.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,078   +4,312
Then dont comment and enjoy Apple. MS is going to do what is best for them which is what the majority of companies do.
As I see it, this is exactly why there will be people our there who figure out how to turn it off like all the other M$ crap such as "One Drive" and "Cortana." There are plenty of users, such as myself, that do not want what is good for M$, we want things that are actually useful to us. Personally, If I want a reliable weather forecast for my area, I will go to www.weather.gov I have already had Windohs Weather Widgets appear in the start menu, and I have promptly removed them.

That whole shove crap down the customer's throat did not work well for Intel, and my bet is that it will not work well for M$. There is plenty of crap in Windohs, such as requiring a M$ Account to install and use Windohs, that users are finding ways to circumvent. IMO, M$ risks losing more of their users to alternatives like Linux.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,078   +4,312
First you are whinning over ms making changes. Get over it, adapt or move on. You have no say so in the licensing that MS does. Sure you can talk about it but ranting or whinning isnt helpful nor will it change anything.
On the contrary, ranting and whining about the crap M$ puts in their OS does make a difference, IMO. Especially when it is directed to a venue such as M$'s "TechNet" https://social.technet.microsoft.com/ I've complained there about issues such as M$ blowing out Wi-Fi hotspots over several "update" Windohs 10 releases, and guess what? It got fixed shortly thereafter.
 
I am sorry texasrattler, I see we both have plenty of posts here, I'm not sure why you think I am not allowed to comment here nor why whatever that reason is would not also apply to you.
He's trying the latest tactic of weaponizing free speech by opting for an attitude with implies he has the authority to say whatever he wants; as long as no one disagrees with him... it's a new thing, sadly.