Here’s why Microsoft keeps adding unpopular features to Windows
Microsoft plans to release two feature updates for its Windows operating system later this year. Making future feature updates will continue unimpeded, and the first builds of the 2023 feature update version are now available.
One of the recent changes to this 2023 feature update preview build is a new desktop search widget. Enabled on only a small number of test devices, the search widget adds a search form field to the Windows desktop. Users can use it to run searches using Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Web addresses can be placed directly on open sites, but any other input is redirected to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Opens all requests in the Microsoft Edge web browser when the search widget is used.
Microsoft Edge is used exclusively for the feature with no built-in option to change the browser. Since there is also no option to change the search engine, users are left with Bing search results when they use the search widget on the device.
It’s easy enough to disable the search widget. All you have to do is right-click on the desktop, select “Show More Options” and click on the “Show Search” toggle option.
An influx of unpopular features
Microsoft has added some features to its Windows operating system in recent times that are not popular or even considered useless by part of the userbase.
In March 2022, Microsoft introduced the Search Highlight feature, which added information about the current day to Widgets and a Windows icon in the taskbar; the latter confused some users, who suddenly noticed changing icons on their taskbar that they had not placed there.
Windows Widgets are another controversial feature. It adds news, weather reports, stock market information and other pieces to Windows. Currently, only first-party widgets are supported, including those powered by Microsoft MSN and Bing. Microsoft plans to extend Windows Widgets to support third-party additions in the future.
The Search widget is the latest controversial addition. Ashwin pointed out that it doesn’t add anything available to the system, as searches can already be run using the operating system’s built-in search functionality.
Why is Microsoft adding these features to the operating system? Some users may find the functionality useful, especially if they have used a more complex method before.
One explanation for the influx of features associated with Bing and Microsoft Edge is that Microsoft wants to increase the use of Edge, Bing and other Microsoft features. Increased usage increases Microsoft’s revenue at the same time, while advertising revenue increases with usage. The features can also keep users longer in the ecosystem of Microsoft services and applications.
Features are enabled by default, as this ensures that the majority of users are exposed to them. Disabling is just a few clicks away, but it may not always be immediately visible. For example, a right-click on the Widgets icon does nothing; you need to right-click on the taskbar instead, select Taskbar Settings, and toggle the Widget icon there to hide it.
Now You: did you find any of the recent additions to the Bing/MSN/Search feature useful?