In brief: Windows 10’s “sweeping visual rejuvenation” is probably still a ways away, but we’ll have plenty of smaller feature updates to test out in the interim. One such update is the new, combined weather/news taskbar widget available to Windows 10 insiders.
The widget does just what you’d expect: when you click on it (it’ll show up to the left of all your smaller taskbar icons), it pulls up a large info panel that you can scroll through and interact with. This panel will show you the latest headlines and stories, relevant stock prices, upcoming sports events, and the local weather in your area.
When the panel is minimized, it only displays an at-a-glance view of the weather, as you can see below. Unlike some of Microsoft’s other Windows features, this new taskbar button actually looks pretty useful.
It should let you briefly catch yourself up on the latest goings-on in the world (or at least your local area) without distracting yourself from the task at hand.
If a particular topic does catch your eye enough for you to want a more in-depth article, clicking on a headline will take you right to the source article via Microsoft Edge. It’s unclear whether you can change that default to Firefox or Chrome.
You may also choose to personalize your feed a bit, if you’re tired of, say, getting bombarded with stories about Covid-19 or the price of Bitcoin. To do so, you just click the three-dot menu at the top right of a given widget and select the “Less stories like this” option. If you enjoy the stories you’re receiving, you can select “More stories like this” instead.
This feature will almost certainly roll out to the general Windows userbase in the future since it appears to be quite polished, but if you want to test it early, you can. To do so, you can start by joining the Windows Insider program and snagging Build 21286 in the Dev Channel.
You’ll also need a copy of Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser installed (it doesn’t have to be your default browser), and you must live in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, or India.