Web search bar appears in the latest Windows 11 preview

Daniel Sims

Posts: 450   +18
Staff
In brief: Microsoft is testing desktop widgets in the latest Windows 11 Insider preview. One is a search bar right on the desktop. It could prove genuinely helpful, but it could also be a new weapon in Microsoft's fight against Google Chrome.

"Select" Windows 11 Insiders who install preview build 25120 should see a search bar near the top of the desktop. Unlike queries in a window's taskbar, which look for apps, local files, and websites, the new search bar only seems to bring up web results. Using it may prove quicker and easier to access than booting up a web browser.

Microsoft doesn't say which browser the widget opens for results, which search engine it uses, or whether users get to decide. Microsoft has been pushing Windows users onto its search engine and web browser for quite a while. So, it wouldn't be surprising if it defaults to opening Bing results in Edge.

Since launching Windows 11, Microsoft has taken criticism from users and competitors for making it harder to switch from Edge to another browser, like Google Chrome. It has added and then removed steps in that process, used popups to discourage switching, and given Edge a free VPN service. A new method of making Bing and Edge more appealing could be putting them right on the desktop, where they're quicker to reach than opening Chrome to do a Google search.

The desktop search field is still experimental, so there is no guarantee it or other widgets will make it out of the preview. Microsoft is requesting feedback on them from Insiders, and a cold reception could kill the feature.

Permalink to story.

 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,206   +4,242
Nice to see they want to make it impossible to miss for when they get sued again for antitrust behavior, for the very same reason they have been taken to court AND LOST in the past which is pushing out competing browsers by integrating them into the OS.

It also should tell you how well those cases work as determent if they're trying the same again.
 
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Dd663

This article seems carefully written to elicit the maximum outrage from the anti-Windows people.

Some notes:

  • The feature can almost certainly be disabled, if it ever does reach regular users. So if you don't like it, it could easily be turned off, and no harm would be done.
  • There's doubtless already plenty of ways to get identical functionality using alternative browsers and/or search engines.
  • It has never, to my knowledge, been "hard" to change the default browser in Windows.
  • Edge is just Microsoft's flavor of Chrome anyway. They're basically the same browser.

Also, I fail to see how including a browser with an OS constitutes an anti-trust case. Apple OSes include Safari. Android includes Chrome.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,364   +5,590
This article seems carefully written to elicit the maximum outrage from the anti-Windows people.

Some notes:

  • The feature can almost certainly be disabled, if it ever does reach regular users. So if you don't like it, it could easily be turned off, and no harm would be done.

  • Bring able to turn off nagware does not change the fact that it is nagware.
    [*]There's doubtless already plenty of ways to get identical functionality using alternative browsers and/or search engines.
    Whataboutism.
    [*]It has never, to my knowledge, been "hard" to change the default browser in Windows.
    MS's use of the scary "are you SUUURE" messages when you switch web browsers (and only web browsers) is a blatant abuse of their position as an OS maker to promote their product above others, and for non tech savvy people (I.E. most people) this error will prevent them from beign able to switch browsers without fear of breaking windows.
    [*]Edge is just Microsoft's flavor of Chrome anyway. They're basically the same browser.
More whataboutism. Being based on the chrome codebase does not excuse nagware.

Also, I fail to see how including a browser with an OS constitutes an anti-trust case. Apple OSes include Safari. Android includes Chrome.
You missed the successful case brought against MS in the 90s over IE. Also, on apple I can switch to chrome without it whining. Android I can switch to firefox without whining. On windows I cannot. Neither apple nor android aggressively switch your default software back "by accident" after updates nor do they insist on shoving their browser in your face every time you try to open the help menu for their OS. MS does.

Nuance, it seems, may be lost on you.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,437   +2,410
Right from the subheadline, I knew where this article was going. Gotta give the mainstream haters what they want I guess.

You know what's more annoying than trying to use Chrome on W11?
Being asked if I want to install Chrome everytime I go to Google.ca with a cleared cache when I'm an Edge user.

Like dude above said, Safari is king on Apple because it's the only option by design, which makes the constant attacks on Windows Edge browser look - just petty.
 
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Dd663

Bring able to turn off nagware does not change the fact that it is nagware.
Being able to turn off unwanted features is a whole lot better than not being able to. There's not much to complain about if you can turn it off in all of five seconds and then never worry about it again.

Whataboutism.
The point I was trying to make is that it's not like the new feature would be providing some convenient functionality that couldn't be had anywhere else, because if it were, maybe there'd be more reason to be upset if the search engine or browser for it can't be changed.

MS's use of the scary "are you SUUURE" messages when you switch web browsers (and only web browsers) is a blatant abuse of their position as an OS maker to promote their product above others, and for non tech savvy people (I.E. most people) this error will prevent them from beign able to switch browsers without fear of breaking windows.
I haven't seen the message in question, since I haven't wanted to switch the browser from Edge to something else. But I'm pretty sure it doesn't imply in any way that their computer will break if they change the default browser, so I don't know how anyone could come to that conclusion unless they don't read it.

More whataboutism. Being based on the chrome codebase does not excuse nagware.
That wasn't intended to excuse the alleged "nagware", just to make the point that Chrome is the most popular browser, and Edge is basically Chrome, so I see no reason to dislike Edge. Would people kick up any fuss if the exact same thing happened on Chrome OS, but the browser was Chrome and the search engine was Google?

This article only speculates that the new feature is locked down to Bing and Edge. For all we know, it could instead simply use the default browser, whatever that may be set to, as well as the default search engine that browser is set to use.

You missed the successful case brought against MS in the 90s over IE. Also, on apple I can switch to chrome without it whining. Android I can switch to firefox without whining. On windows I cannot. Neither apple nor android aggressively switch your default software back "by accident" after updates nor do they insist on shoving their browser in your face every time you try to open the help menu for their OS. MS does.
It really seems like you're looking for reasons to be annoyed. Why put up so much fuss over needing to click through a single extra window (assuming you really even need to) to change the default browser, when you'll never have to do it again afterward?

Microsoft, by the way, isn't the only one who does stuff like this. Whenever I log into Gmail on a browser that's not Chrome, I get an annoying pop-up saying "Google recommends Chrome for the best experience" or something like that, and I have to click "Don't switch" to make it go away.

Microsoft and every other OS maker has included a browser with their OS for decades. If there were any legal merit to further lawsuits, it would have already happened, and it would rightfully be targeted at the other OS makers as well. The original lawsuit was in the Netscape days, back when browsers were still paid-for products. That day is long gone.
 

ypsylon

Posts: 506   +509
Macroco$t doesn't even hide anymore that they are cheap knock-off of MacOS with W11. Spotlight is awesome. M$-clone is not. M$ search 10/11 (not Bing, but search PC) is worst search engine in the history of IT.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,147   +5,776
This may be the first version of Windows that doesn't eclipse its predecessors in upgrades and fresh installs unless consumer builds of Windows 10 are sabotaged to auto-upgrade regardless of your preferences. Can't wait for the class action on that.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,126   +1,668
Microsoft and I continue to disagree over the purpose of my desktop PC. I feel it is a professional tool that should be fully under my control with a high degree of security & privacy, whereas they feel it is a toy for them to advertise on and backhaul data from.

Their strategy isn't dumb. They keep users like me by making it easier to turn off their annoyances than to abandon Windows, while also probably benefiting from a huge mainstream audience that lives with the defaults.

I still want to switch to a Linux desktop as soon as practical, because Microsoft's long term direction of regarding me as their product seems unlikely to change.
 

winjer

Posts: 424   +1,932
Microsoft is hell bent on adding so much bloatware to Windows, as to make it look like one of those cheap android phones.

Whenever I install Windows, I spend more time cleaning up bloatware than actually installing Windows.
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,126   +1,740
Microsoft is hell bent on adding so much bloatware to Windows, as to make it look like one of those cheap android phones.

Whenever I install Windows, I spend more time cleaning up bloatware than actually installing Windows.
Me too. Without cleaning bloatware and telemetry, Windows feels pestering to say the least. Stupid UAC, for example, uselessly pestering me with warnings I don't need to see. Stupid Cortana, stupid ink, handwriting features only used to spy on me, etc. Horrible mass of crap I have to disable by some Antispy.
 

TheBigT42

Posts: 652   +671
I sure hope Steam / Proton Gaming on Linux keeps developing because I WILL NOT run windows 11 on my home computer.
 
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Dd663

I don't care about the search bar I just don't want the "news" on my desktop
You can remove that junk by removing the widget feature from Windows 11 entirely. I found a guide online to do it, but I don't remember where it was. Maybe it was HowToGeek?
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,027   +720
A useful widget or another advertisement for Edge?
It is a useless "Me-Too" wanna-be attempt to mimic one of Android's more annoying "features", and one that will be just as swiftly removed and deleted should it show up on the main-line distro of Windows..
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,027   +720
I sure hope Steam / Proton Gaming on Linux keeps developing because I WILL NOT run windows 11 on my home computer.
Your loss. When properly configured, it runs great but you have to be willing to rope it in. Same thing as Windows 10, just a few different ways.
 

TheBigT42

Posts: 652   +671
Your loss. When properly configured, it runs great but you have to be willing to rope it in. Same thing as Windows 10, just a few different ways.
If you read the article it says the search bar is not removable (as of right now)
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,027   +720
If you read the article it says the search bar is not removable (as of right now)
I've already taken a look at that build of 11 and removed it. It's dead simple. If Microsoft thinks they can force this crap on us, they've got another thing coming and can go fornicate themselves...