Windows Search Bar becomes a Bing-powered mini web browser

Cortana is really on the way out, with Microsoft continuously de-emphasis its role in its products. In the past, it featured prominently on Windows' taskbar as an assistant ready to serve you the information you need. It has now been booted out of that position and replaced by an impersonal Windows Search Bar, one that enthrones Microsoft Bing search instead and practically puts a web browser in your panel.

Few Windows users probably use the platform's Search Bar that has been there ever since the earliest days of Windows 10. That may have been simply because the functionality didn't offer them anything over searching in Windows File Explorer directly. Over time, however, that search bar has gotten even more features and is now practically Bing rather than Cortana.

The Windows Search Bar isn't just for searching for files anymore. You now type in questions about trivia or even do calculations. You can check the news or go to certain websites right then and there. If those activities sound familiar to you, then you might be thinking of the things you do with Google Search and a browser, probably Google Chrome even. And you're right on the mark, too!

This Bing-powered Windows Search may be Microsoft's way to pull in more users to its Bing and Edge products that wouldn't normally use them. You can't, for example, easily search for and then install Windows apps in Chrome nor can you manage files like you would in Explorer. You can do all those from Windows Search without even opening a browser. Of course, under the hood, you are using Bing and Edge and those stats probably add up in their favor.

You can even start a Bing Visual Search from the Windows Search Bar, letting you crop an image on the screen to send to Bing. It will take you to a full Bing browser experience though, but the convenience of skipping out on a few steps in the process might be appealing. Whether that convenience is enough to make users default to using Windows Search, however, remains to be seen.