Windows 11 preview updates have been bringing plenty of new features to test on the platform. Some are great like HDR sliders (opens in new tab), and others not so much, like when it recently broke some Microsoft Store apps (opens in new tab). But that's what preview updates are for, allowing Microsoft to test out ideas to see what works and what doesn't in front of a small batch of consumers. The current insider build holds one such feature, which many users are hoping doesn't make it to the official release.
According to The Register (opens in new tab), Microsoft has kindly added a search box widget to the Windows 11 desktop in the Dev Channel of the 25120 update. When typed in, this box will produce a variety of drop down options, powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine and shown in Microsoft Edge. It will also ignore default browser settings, so even if those have been updated this search bar still defaults to Microsoft's programs.
The Windows insider blog (opens in new tab) states "We are excited to learn your feedback on this interaction model, so please use the Feedback Hub to provide feedback if you receive this experiment." They'll definitely get feedback. Many users aren't going to like having Bing and Edge once again shoved in their faces, especially right on their very own desktops.
Thankfully the feature can be turned off fairly easily, but in this iteration seems to be on by default. It is also just a preview build feature being tested, so hopefully it won't actually release, especially with the understandable backlash from some testers. Though it's only a limited number of insiders who've had the pleasure of experiencing the search bar, it's already a pretty unpopular move, fairly copping ire on Twitter (opens in new tab).
Windows 11 review (opens in new tab): What we think of the new OS
How to install Windows 11 (opens in new tab): Safe and secure install
What you need to know before upgrading (opens in new tab): Things to note before downloading the latest OS
Windows 11 TPM requirements (opens in new tab): Microsoft's strict security policy
But Windows 11 users aren't the only ones who are likely to be upset by this new feature. Rival browsers were already frustrated (opens in new tab) by Microsoft's handling of default browser options in Windows 11, so if this feature does make it to other builds, it won't just be customers complaining.
It also appears this is just the first test of one of many planned iterations of interactive content on the Windows 11 desktop. If Microsoft chooses to go ahead with more widget style experimentations, hopefully they'll integrate with more than just its own software. More cute UI animations, (opens in new tab) less product placement.