The Windows 11 Widgets might become a bigger deal in the future, as Microsoft has released a build for Windows Insiders on the Dev Channel that includes a new fullscreen Widgets window.
Although this model is based on a build created through the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program, which allows people to enter Windows in the future, there''s no guarantee that the changes we see in the build will ever be implemented correctly in the near future, according to the language used in the blog post. Microsoft has given permission to test and refine it.
"We are beginning to extend our viewing for Widgets as a whole." An excerpt from the post says that "we are beginning the roll out to a small set of Insiders in the Dev Channel first so not everyone will see it right away." "We want to monitor feedback and see how it lands before extending it to everyone."
That''s the big change in this Windows 11 build, but it''s not the only one. Microsoft is also updating the Game Pass widget so you may make a comeback.
This gives the widget a bit of gain, as you can now join in to your Xbox profile via the Xbox PC app and expect to see an auto-updating list of your recently-played games right there in the widget. You can also see the Game Pass games you''ve played most recently on PC, and jump back in directly from the widget.
This is a very minor upgrade, which, frankly, would have been included in the Game Pass widget when it was introduced last month. In fairness, Microsoft classified it as a "preview" of the widget, leaving its developers plenty of room to continue updating the Game Pass widget and adding new features.
Windows 11 outlook
The addition of these new Widget features is very useful, but it is also unclear when Windows 11 owners can anticipate them. I highly doubt they will be part of the major Windows 11 2022 update that is expected to lose ground next week (September 20th, as per the word).
This will be the first major Windows 11 update since the new operating system was launched in October 2021, and some of the most coolest new features include Live Captions (so you can get decent captions on basically any video), improved Snap Layout options, and a smarter Start menu. According to theWindows 11 update schedule lowered earlier this year, this update should be followed by at least one more major feature update.
This is good news because Windows 11 requires some preparation. Microsoft''s latest operating system is robust, but it isn''t particularly keen if you''re already happy with Windows 10.
The new Windows 11 Widgets are particularly disappointing because they appear to be such a good idea, although they are deeply underwhelmed by seemingly obvious limitations. Only 11 people are available for starters (up from 8 at the start) and they have a little value.
Widgets that show stock prices or the local weather are useful enough, but the lion''s share of Windows 11 Widgets are only as good as your investment in Microsoft. Mail and Photos (really, Outlook and OneDrive) won''t be of much use.
Worst, the auto-updating news feed that fills out the Widget board with news stories limits which sources you can pull news from, which significantly hinders its utility. If I can''t put my favorite websites on my Widget board with one click (or by pressing Windows key + W), what''s the point of even using it instead of, say, a browser bookmark?
This is the main issue with Windows 11 Widgets: Microsoft hasn''t made a good argument for why you should utilize them over whatever tools you already used to obtain information they provide. Until Microsoft does, the Widgets board will remain out of sight and out of mind on my personal PC.
Microsoft has a lot of time to work on them, and the fact that Windows 11 will soon enable third-party Widgets gives me hope for Windows 11. With native Android app support (after being MIA at launch) and the possibility of a more diverse and useful Widgets menu on the horizon, Microsoft is well on its path to convincing me to upgrade my personal PC from Windows 10.
If Windows 11 would be causing everyone to have a Microsoft account to install it, I''d delete the update button right now.