This week, Microsoft introduced the new Search Highlights feature in the Insider build released for its Windows 11 operating system. Search Highlights extends the operating system’s search functionality with ” notable and interesting moments” that highlight what is “special” about the day or the organizations content.
Search Highlights significantly changes the Windows Search start page. Currently, Windows 11 users get a list of the best apps to launch directly and quick search links that open web results.
In the new Windows Search home interface, users get a bigger list of recent apps they’ve opened, and an even bigger area with content provided by Microsoft. Users who are not logged into a work or school account get web content such as trending searches, as well as daily global or regional highlights.
The search box in Start & Search will be periodically updated with content, including fun illustrations, that will help you discover more, stay connected, and stay productive. These tips in the search box give you an overview of what to expect in the home search.
Search highlights will feature notable and interesting moments, such as holidays, birthdays, and other educational moments in time, both around the world and in your area. You’ll find rich, bold content in Search Home that highlights what’s special today.
Users signed in with a work or school account return the organization’s files and contacts to search home.
Search highlights will feature the latest updates from your organization and suggested people, files, and more. Explore files that may be of interest to you, or browse the people board in your organization. As always, just start typing to find everything about your organization, right at your fingertips with search.
Windows administrators can disable the new search highlight feature under Settings > Privacy & security > Search settings > Show search highlights. Organization administrators find additional options in the Microsoft 365 admin center.
Microsoft also plans to offer search functionality to users of its Windows 10 operating system in the future.
Search Highlights, at least the variant for Windows 11 home systems, is Microsoft’s latest effort to bring more web content to its operating systems. What is the use of the new experience? Considering that the main function of search is to find content, it seems to fall into the least useful category, even for users who search the web from the Windows search interface.
While it’s possible to turn off search highlights, it’s usually the case that most users keep features like this turned on unless they get too annoying or distracting.
Windows users who want search to focus on local results find another feature in search that they may wish to disable.
Now you: are you going to keep search highlights on or off?