Microsoft is finally paying attention to the ubiquitous Taskbar in Windows 10. The humble port that accommodates the Start button, Cortana, open apps, and System Tray, will now display dynamic content about news, stocks, and weather via a new widget.
Microsoft has offered Windows 10 Insider Program participants a glimpse of a few new changes to the Taskbar through the Dev Channel. The Windows 10 equivalent of the “Dock” in macOS will get new news and weather widget.
Microsoft to offer news and weather widget eliminating the need for third-party alternatives:
Microsoft is paying attention to the Taskbar in Windows 10. The company is offering new news and weather widget.
Participants of the Windows Insider Program have received the new feature. It grants Windows 10 users quick access to a dynamic feed of news, stocks, and weather information straight from the Taskbar.
Simply put, Windows 10 OS users need not rely on shady third-party alternatives or head over to the internet to quickly check the weather, stock prices, or news snippets from their favorite online publications. Users will be able to quickly glean all the necessary information.
The Taskbar is usually populated with Windows 10 Start Menu button and app icons on the left-hand side. Meanwhile, the System Tray occupies the extreme right-hand corner. Space between the app icons and System Tray is usually empty.
Microsoft offers a few “Toolbars” that can sit in this empty space and offer some visual information. However, these toolbars have been rather static and boring.
Microsoft mandates users must install new Edge web browser to view the news and weather widget:
The new taskbar news and weather widget feature will pop out into a mini-feed of dynamic content. The content will pop up whenever a user glides or hovers over the widget.
Users can personalize the pop-up with the latest sports news, headlines, and weather information. Microsoft is relying on its Microsoft News network to bump up news and content from more than 4,500 sources.
The company has been steadily curating the news and other content providers using Artificial Intelligence for the past several months. Moreover, the new taskbar widget will also gradually learn the users’ preferences and submit relevant and customized or curated content accordingly. The AI learns when users dismiss or like stories in the feed.
— BestNewsForTech (@DigitalGalaxyIT) January 7, 2021
Microsoft is currently restricting the availability of the new taskbar widget feature to testers in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and India. However, once finetuned, the feature will head over to general users via an update.
Incidentally, Windows 10 users who wish to benefit from the new taskbar news and weather widget feature will need Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge web browser installed. This means, whenever any user will click on any link within the widget, Microsoft will drive them to Edge browser for further reading.
Microsoft has promised an “ad-free” experience while using the new taskbar news and weather widget feature. Moreover, users can easily disable the widget if they do not want to use the same or find it distracting.