Microsoft is making a big change to its Windows 10 taskbar soon, with the addition of a news and weather widget. The new feature is available to testers today, and it will allow Windows 10 users to access a feed of news, stocks, and weather information straight from the taskbar. You’ll be able to quickly glance at the weather without having to open the Start menu, install a third-party app, or check online.
The taskbar feature will pop out into a mini feed of content that can be personalized with the latest sports news, headlines, and weather information. Microsoft is using its Microsoft News network to surface news and content from more than 4,500 sources. The company has been curating this through artificial intelligence in recent months, and this particular feature will also learn what news is relevant to you when you dismiss or like stories in the feed.
Microsoft is starting to test this new feature with its Windows Insiders on the dev channel of Windows 10 today, and it will likely be available to all users later this year. It will only be initially available to testers in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and India.
This new taskbar feature will also require Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge to be installed on a PC. That means any link you click within the feature will force you into Edge to read it, and Microsoft is presenting content in the reading view by default.
You can of course disable this new taskbar feature, and Microsoft says it will be an ad-free experience. It does appear to be more useful than the People Bar that Microsoft built into Windows 10 a few years ago. The People Bar acts as a quick way to access contacts, but it only supports apps like Mail and Skype and not big third-party messaging services.