The consumerization of Windows 11 continues with newest Windows 11 test build

Microsoft is adding its Family safety and Clipchamp video-editing apps to its 'inbox app' list and has other Search features coming to Windows 11 as part of its latest test build.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft's latest Windows 11 test build for the Dev Channel, No. 22572, is bringing more consumer features to Windows 11. Microsoft is rolling out some of these features today, March 9, and plans to add new Search features via an update starting early next week.

Microsoft's Family safety app is now considered an 'inbox' app -- i.e., a preloaded app -- in Windows 11 as of this build. Microsoft Family, currently supported on the Web and Mobile, includes parental controls and family location tracking, among other features. The Family app will be an inbox app only in Windows 11 Home and will be updated via the Microsoft Store. Those using Windows 11 Pro who want this app can manually download it from the store. 

As of Build 22572, Microsoft also is making Clipchamp, its video-creation and editing tool, an inbox app. Microsoft bought Clipchamp in September 2021. At that time, Microsoft officials said Clipchamp's technology, at some point, would be integrated with Microsoft 365 for consumers, education and business customers.

Microsoft also is highlighting some Search changes that will be rolling out to Insiders in the Release Preview Channel (first) next week in today's release notes for Build 22572. Microsoft is planning to "periodically update with content" the search box in its Start Menu and in the Search that's pinned to the taskbar. This content will include "notable and interesting moments -- like holidays, anniversaries, and other educational moments in time both globally in your region." This sounds like MSN-fueled content to me, plus some of the type of Bing daily image functionality.

Users still will be able to search for information in their apps, files, and settings, as well as for information via web searches. But Microsoft also is going to highlight Microsoft Rewards offers, trending searches and provide users with an extended list of recently launched apps, files, settings, and sites, similar to what is available currently via the Start menu. Microsoft also will continue to give users a way to search for their own companies' people, files, and other information through Search as it does now with Bing when people sign in with their work or school accounts.

Users will be able to shut off these new "Search Highlights" features by going to Settings > Privacy & Security " Search Settings and toggle "Show Search Highlights." And admins will be able to shut this off for users via the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. Here is more information on how admins can control this.

I have to say, right now in Windows 11, Search is one of the features I consider to be the weakest link. It crashes constantly for me when I click on the Search icon in the taskbar. When it doesn't crash, it loads slowly and takes ages to load results that aren't simply from Bing. I wish Microsoft would do more to speed up and solidify Search before cluttering it with more consumer functionality that I don't care about.

Microsoft made a lot of other fixes and updates in today's test build, many of which are detailed in its release notes on Build 22572  in today's Insider blog post. Microsoft also is touting the ability for Insiders to try out the updated Defender security app (in the U.S. and in English only) as part of today's set of updates.

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