Web search bar appears in latest Windows 11 preview

In short: Microsoft is testing desktop widgets in the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview. One is a search bar right on the desktop. It could prove really useful, but it could also be a new weapon in Microsoft’s fight against Google Chrome.

“Select” Windows 11 Insiders who are installing preview build 25120 should see a search bar near the top of the desktop. Unlike queries in a window’s taskbar, which search for apps, local files, and websites, the new search bar appears to only show web results. Using it may be faster and easier to access than starting a web browser.

Microsoft doesn’t say which browser the widget opens for results, which search engine it uses, or whether users decide. Microsoft has been pushing Windows users on its search engine and web browser for some time. So it wouldn’t be surprising if it opened Bing results in Edge by default.

Since the launch of Windows 11, Microsoft has been criticized by users and competitors for making it harder to switch from Edge to another browser, like Google Chrome. He added and then removed steps in this process, used pop-ups to discourage switching, and gave Edge a free VPN service. A new method to make Bing and Edge more appealing might be to put them right on the desktop, where they’re quicker to reach than opening Chrome to do a Google search.

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

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