Windows 11 will finally brighten up widgets with third-party support

The Widgets tool behind a dedicated taskbar button in Windows 11 will open the door to non-Microsoft apps later this year, the software company has announced.

At its Build 2022 conference, Microsoft revealed that third-party developers will be able to create live widgets for their apps. They will be available for Win 32 apps and Progressive Web apps.

The idea behind Widget functionality is to allow quick access to relevant information without interrupting the Windows user’s workflow. The content is personalized, so you should only see what interests you, which makes reading the widgets as brief as possible.

In a keynote to developers, Windows chief Panos Panay said users are already enjoying access to widgets as a productivity aid that frees them from taking their mobile devices.

In a blog post, he wrote, “Widgets in Windows 11 give users a fresh, visible, and useful view of app content. We are energized by customer feedback on the widgets to date; people enjoy quick access to the content most important to them seamlessly without interrupting their flow. Later this year, you can start building widgets as add-on experiences for your Win32 and PWA apps on Windows 11, powered by the Adaptive Cards platform.

Currently, there are proprietary apps that help users keep tabs on their appointments, to-do lists, and relevant news, entertainment, and sports. There’s also a Bing Maps-based Traffic widget, as well as options for weather and stocks. However, they will definitely become a little more useful once third-party developers start producing the products.

Are you using Windows 11 widgets? Does it keep you from picking up your phone and disappearing down the rabbit hole? Which apps would you like to see create new widgets? Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.

Ada J. Kenney