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Windows 11 Update: Microsoft Experimenting with Floating Widgets in Start Menu

Microsoft is experimenting with a fresh twist on the Windows 11 Start menu, featuring floating widgets. Hints of a replacement for Live Tiles are surfacing in the latest Windows 11 test builds, as discovered by Windows observer Albacore. Although Microsoft hasn’t formally announced this development, the emergence of “Start menu Companions” suggests a potential avenue for developers to enhance the Start menu with widget-style elements.

These companions, housed in a floating panel, could provide adaptable, app-driven content similar to widgets, as presented through adaptive cards. Configurable via the main Windows 11 Settings, these companions offer flexibility, allowing users to install and toggle multiple options as desired. Notably, they appear to be heavily web-centric, akin to the widget framework integrated into Windows 11.

If implemented, this new feature could fill the void left by the removal of Live Tiles, which debuted in Windows 8 and were later axed from Windows 10X and Windows 11. Live Tiles, reminiscent of the animated icons from Windows Phone, aimed to offer at-a-glance information, though their adoption by app developers was limited.

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