Friday, July 30, 2021
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Windows 10’s Weather Widget Is a Mess. Is Windows 11 Next?


Microsoft's Windows 11 teaser image.
Microsoft

Have you heard about the big new interface changes in Windows in June 2021? No, we’re not talking about the Windows 11 announcement Microsoft is teasing. We’re talking about that buggy new weather widget popping up on more than a billion Windows 10 PCs.

Why Is It So Blurry?

The blurry News and Interests widget on Windows 10's taskbar.

Windows 10’s Weather widget—technically called the “News and interests” widget—makes a terrible first impression on many PCs. It’s just so… blurry. Why is the text so blurry?

The real question isn’t why it’s so blurry, of course. The real question is why Microsoft rolled out the taskbar weather widget to everyone’s Windows PCs in such a buggy state.

As Windows Latest points out, Microsoft was aware of the blurriness (and other issues) before this feature was released. The issue was even apparently fixed in a preview build. But Microsoft shoved this feature out of the door to everyone in an unpolished form rather than making it work right first.

RIP Windows 10’s Weather App

Okay, Windows 10’s Weather app isn’t dead yet, but it seems dead to Microsoft. If you click the weather information in the Weather widget you’ll see the weather on MSN.com in your web browser.

This isn’t a surprise. The Weather widget is designed to push MSN on Windows 10 users.

MSN Ads News on Your Taskbar

The News and Interests panel popping up from Windows 10's taskbar.

Have you ever wondered why you have to click your mouse to see the latest trending news stories on MSN? Wouldn’t it be great if they just popped up as you moved your mouse cursor around the screen?

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By default, when you move your mouse cursor over the Weather widget, it will pop up a panel full of news stories, sports scores, and other stuff from “Microsoft News.”

With a single click from anywhere, you’re now reading a story on MSN.com and seeing ads. This Weather widget is a great new source of revenue for Microsoft. (At least you can disable Weather on the taskbar.)

It’s Bad Under the Hood, Too

But it’s not that bad, right—-is it? Well, here are some other problems with the Weather widget:

  • It Ignores Your Default Browser: When you click a story, it will always open Microsoft Edge.
  • Web-Based Configuration: Rather than a normal Windows settings interface, the News and Interests panel is configured on a web page in your browser.
  • It’s Just So Blurry: Seriously, why is it so blurry?

According to prominent Windows leaker Albacore, this is just “the old Search/Cortana app” showing a different web page. It uses the old and discontinued EdgeHTML engine from the original Edge browser, which was removed from Windows 10 in favor of the new Edge.

Albacore says the blurriness is caused by the fact that the widget itself is an embedded web view. Yes, with this feature enabled, the Windows taskbar is now basically showing a website all the time. Welcome to Windows in 2021.

Please, Microsoft: Just Do It Right

Look, we’re not totally against this feature! Having the weather on Windows 10’s taskbar is a cool idea. And some people will likely enjoy the news, interests, and other up-to-the-minute information the panel provides.

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What’s sad is how cheap and low-quality the News and Interests widget feels. It doesn’t feel like something designed to make Windows better. It feels like shovelware designed to push MSN at the expense of the Windows experience.

After all, not only do Macs have an extremely polished interface, but Chrome OS is looking pretty slick, too. Neither competing platform has blurry web views on its taskbar.

Computer users have options, and Microsoft should respect its users enough to polish features like this before they’re deployed.

After all, what are you gonna do, switch to a Mac? Haha—wait a minute, come back!

Bad News for Windows 11

Microsoft keeps teasing amazing “Sun Valley” design coming soon. Perhaps it will even be called Windows 11!

But why does it feel like Microsoft’s Windows interface designers have just given up?

We’re all supposed to be excited about a new Windows user interface design from the team that brought up this blurry, buggy, lazy Weather widget?

Say what you will about the People Bar—at least it wasn’t blurry when Microsoft released it on us. Windows 10’s new features are going downhill.

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