Microsoft is experimenting with new user interface changes to the Windows 11 taskbar. The software giant is testing the return of the familiar Windows 10 search bar, as well as notification badges for Windows 11’s Widgets section.
Windows 11 currently comes with a search button on the taskbar, which can be disabled and only displays the search logo. Microsoft is currently testing three different visual changes to the Search taskbar. One experience is the usual search icon, while two others include a small or large search bar in the taskbar. Microsoft is seeking feedback on the changes before they’re rolled out more widely, and the tests are part of Microsoft’s new Windows 11 experimental features, which means they strength not ship.
After recently bringing back the Weather widget to the Windows 11 taskbar, Microsoft is currently testing adding notification badges. Notifications are designed for content like breaking news and look like the badges you’ll find in the Action Center on the right side of the taskbar.
“When you open the Widgets table, a banner appears at the top of the table providing more information about what triggered the notification badge,” says Windows Insider chief Amanda Langowski. It’s not explicitly clear, but I expect these notifications can be turned off in addition to being able to periodically remove the Widgets taskbar button.
Along with UI testing, Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel will also be able to start testing a new Camera app for Windows 11. The design has been updated to match Windows 11 and now includes support for QR and barcode scanning. A new Media Player update is also available for testing, with the ability to rip CDs to AAC, WMA, FLAC, and ALAC files.