In the past few weeks, Microsoft has tested the new taskbar feature of “Search Highlights” for Windows 11 21H2 in the Beta and Dev channels. Search Highlights is a new way to discover new and trending content on Bing without disrupting the flow of user information.
As you can see in the screenshots, the Windows 11 search homepage and bars in the search panel will now highlight interesting illustrations. This will help users discover more from Bing, stay connected, and be more productive. According to Microsoft, the Search Highlights feature highlights notable and interesting moments.
These moments can be holidays, anniversaries, other international moments, or even moments in the user’s region. The feature is now shipping with Windows 10 21H2 Build 19044.1618 (KB5011543), available in the Release channel. Features included in this release may appear in next month’s security update.
Windows 11’s new Search Highlights feature is gradually rolling out to users and will be widely available in the coming days. While the idea sounds interesting, it’s still another attempt by Microsoft to push MSN and Bing recommendations to Windows users.
Microsoft has been pushing something similar with Microsoft Edge and hopes to expand its reach by integrating the feature directly into the taskbar. “Explore additional content relevant to each moment in the search homepage, including daily content such as Word of the Day, Microsoft Rewards offers, trending searches, and more,” Microsoft explains how the feature works.
It’s important to note that users can turn off search highlights and switch back to the old but slightly revised interface. If you’re using Windows 10, you can turn off Bing’s search highlighting by right-clicking on the taskbar > Search > and you can disable it by selecting the “Show Search Highlights” option.
Windows 11 users, on the other hand, can turn off the highlights integration by navigating to the Privacy & Security page in the Settings app. Admins can also turn off or control the feature through the Microsoft 365 admin center.
It’s worth noting that the Microsoft Search Highlights feature is optimized for a user’s workflow, so if a user links a work or school Microsoft account to the operating system, they will see content recommendations relevant to their organization. This feature pays special attention to the organization’s files and contacts.
In addition to the search highlights, Microsoft has also fixed several bugs and glitches in the operating system with the latest optional preview update. For example, fixed an issue that could prevent users from logging into Microsoft Outlook and Teams on Android devices. Another bug has been fixed where users cannot upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 due to vague error messages.