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The initial release of Windows 11 reintroduced widgets to PCs, but placed them in a dedicated panel rather than the desktop. Now they’re even better, thanks to a new update rolling out.

Microsoft is rolling out a Windows update that adds Bing AI in the taskbar, tabs in Notepad, screen recording in Snipping Tool, and changes to the widgets experience. The widget panel is now larger when opened, which was first tested in preview builds back in September. More importantly, developers other than Microsoft can now create widgets, which previously limited the usefulness of widgets on Windows 11.

There aren’t many third-party widgets yet — Spotify has one that shows recommended playlists and other controls, and Facebook Messenger is testing a widget with shortcuts recent conversations. Microsoft hasn’t updated its developer documentation since testing for third-party widget support started, so it’s not clear if anyone can make widgets yet, or if it’s still limited to Microsoft partners. Microsoft previously said that it would allow any app installed from the Microsoft Store to set up optional widgets, and even web apps (installed through Edge) will have access at some point.

Widgets on Windows 11

The same update also includes new widgets from Microsoft itself, including a Game Pass widget and one for Phone Link. Microsoft said in its blog post, “We are excited to introduce the expansion of Widgets to include Phone Link, Xbox Game Pass, and partners like Meta and Spotify, so it has never been easier to stay up to date on the things that matter. By simply clicking the weather icon in your taskbar or swiping from the left, Widgets delivers important information at a glance.”

Hopefully, popular apps start working on widgets once the feature is fully rolled out. Widgets are an incredibly useful feature on Android and iPhone, and Windows 11 is slowly adding the same frameworks.

Source: Windows Blog

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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