Microsoft to bring News and Interests feature to Windows 10 users running 1909 and above

Microsoft has a staggered rollout plan for its Windows 10 News and Interests feature, which brings weather, news, sports and more information to the taskbar.

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Credit: Microsoft

In January 2021, Microsoft started testing a new Windows 10 feature called News and Interests with Windows Insiders. Usually, that would mean this feature might debut in some future Windows feature update somewhere down the line -- maybe 21H1 or 21H2, if past rollout schedules were any indication.

Microsoft seems to want to get this feature out (maybe?) more quickly but definitely with more fanfare than usual. The company is starting to roll out the News and Interests feature as of this week, beginning with the April 2021 cumulative update previews for Windows 10. Officials said they plan to expand the News and Interests rollout over the coming weeks to all Windows 10 users running version 1909 and more recent. They'll also need the May 2021 security update -- coming on the May 11th Patch Tuesday, I'd assume -- to get this feature.

(A related aside: Microsoft officials still won't disclose when the mainstream rollout of Windows 10 21H1 will kick off, but the May Patch Tuesday has been a rumored target. And because Windows 10 21H1, Windows 10 20H2 and Windows 10 2004 all build atop the same core codebase, this would mean the News and Interests features would likely roll out first for these three Windows 10 variants.)

The News and Interests feature displays weather information on the taskbar, and also provides top headlines from MSN.com, sports scores, traffic updates and finance information in a flyout. Ads are (currently) not included. Links automatically open in Microsoft's new Edge browser. Users can turn News and Interests off or on by right clicking the taskbar. There also will be a group policy option available to admins to turn this feature off and on for multiple users.

Microsoft's blog post today, April 22, about the broadening rollout of News and Interests, focuses on how the feature keeps users in their flow. The bigger reason Microsoft is likely pushing this feature so hard is because officials are hoping it might get more people to use the new Edge, Bing and the content provided via MSN. While there are no ads in the flyout, clicking on a news link brings users to MSN pages where there are Bing-powered ads. 

As Microsoft noted in January, News and Interests s currently only available to Windows Insiders in United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and India. The feature requires the new Edge.