Windows 10 is getting a floating web search feature via Microsoft Edge

Windows 10 search feature

If you follow Windows development closely, you’ve probably
heard of “desktop gadgets”, a feature that was introduced with
Windows Vista. As spotted in the new builds, Microsoft is now
planning to recreate a similar experience on Windows 10 using
its Chromium Edge browser.

For those unaware, the desktop gadgets feature was created by
Microsoft to enhance the overall user experience in Windows
Vista. After the launch of Windows Vista, independent
developers also filled the gadgets store with a plethora of
widgets to add the desired function to your Windows desktop.

The feature has since been discontinued, but it appears that
Microsoft hasn’t given up on the idea yet. Desktop gadgets are
making a comeback through the Microsoft Edge, bringing with it
experimental features like floating search bar and floating
news dashboard.

Dashboard layout
Edge’s dashboard layout

With its next big update, Microsoft is planning to add floating
desktop widgets to Chromium Edge and it will initially include
three layouts – vertical, dashboard and search only.

While the vertical and dashboard layouts will focus on news and
interests, the third layout “search only” will allow you to
search the web.

To get started, you need to launch Microsoft Edge (Canary),
open the main menu and click on ‘toolbar’, and select “web
widgets”. After you click on the option, the launcher appears
on the screen.

Search widget
Edge’s search widget floating over MS Paint

Start typing the search keyboard or URL of the website you want
to open. From the search results, simply click on the right
item. And Edge will instantly launch with Bing.

Beyond using it to browse Bing and your favourite websites,
Edge’s search widget can even perform calculations, thanks to
Bing integration, web widget runs in the background and the
shortcut is automatically pinned to the right side of the
display.

You can always end the widget’s background process from Windows
10’s system tray.

Edge widgets

The other two widgets – vertical and dashboard – follow the
same approach used by the search widget, but they also enable
access to news and weather feed which can show users a
personalized briefing based on their interests.

As mentioned above, widgets can float over other apps, which
means you can access the feature anytime by clicking on the
icon floating over the desktop or apps.

In addition to the floating widget,
Microsoft is also enabling Chromium Edge integration in Windows
10 taskbar search and support for improved vertical
tabs.

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