Back in January, Microsoft rolled out a Windows Insider update that included some big changes to the taskbar. The changes include a new weather readout next to the system tray that, when hovered over, showed a new panel with more detailed weather information and headlines from various news sources. After a few months of testing, it seems these taskbar updates are ready for prime time, as Microsoft is starting to roll them out on a wider scale.
If you saw coverage of this Windows Insider update back in January – or even participated in that Insider release – then you already have a pretty good handle on how this works because it doesn’t seem like Microsoft has implemented too many dramatic changes. The idea, it seems, is to allow Windows 10 users to stay up-to-date with current news without necessarily having to get absorbed in it.
The panel that appears when you hover over the weather information located in the task bar will show a number of panels, each of which with a headline. You can click on one of those panels to open the full story in a “streamlined reading experience,” or if you want to come back to it later, you can save the story or share it.
You also have personalization options when it comes to which information cards appear in the panel. Not only can you select from a collection of different topics, but you can also select your preferred publishers and even tell Microsoft which news stories you’d be likely to read to better tailor the add-on to your tastes. If, on the other hand, you have no interest in this panel at all, Microsoft says you can turn it off.
While the News and Interests panel on the taskbar is beginning to roll out today, it might still be a while before it appears on your desktop; Microsoft says that it’s taking a “phased and measured approach” to this roll out, so while some will begin to see it in the coming weeks, it’ll be a few months before it’s broadly available.