Microsoft is testing one of the biggest changes to the Windows system tray since Windows 10 was launched. As part of the latest beta version of Dev Channel, the company is introducing a news and interests section in the system tray that Windows users will soon have quick access to a feed of dynamic content throughout the day.
Currently only available if you select a Windows PC for the Windows Insider Program. This change is about getting content that is more relevant to you. According to Microsoft, you can call up an "integrated feed" in the system tray with information tailored to you, so that you no longer have to switch between a PC and a phone to keep up to date with the latest news.
As shown above, the feature works pretty seamlessly. All you have to do is move your mouse and click an icon in the system tray next to the system tray that contains the weather. A popup hub will appear with messages and other interests.
This first version contains various start menu-like “tiles” in the hub for weather, sports and top news. According to Microsoft, you can access content from "over 4,500 brands," including sites like the New York Times and the BBC. There are even live weather maps.
The feature is currently only available to Windows Insider beta testers registered on the Dev Channel and requires a restart. If the current rumors are true, it will likely apply to everyone else in a future version of Windows 10. The "Cobalt" update is planned for the second half of this year. However, because the feature is on the dev channel, it is not tied to a specific version of Windows, so there is no guarantee that it will appear outside of the beta versions of Windows.
Just like in the start menu, this feed can be fully personalized in the News and Interests section. You can choose more options and then choose more stories like this or fewer stories like this to see the things that matter to you on your feed. There is also the option to respond to emojis.
Regarding the privacy of the feed, Microsoft states that it provides quick access to the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard, which allows you to limit tracking by advertisers and third parties. The feature can also be disabled by right-clicking on the taskbar when it is not needed.