Windows 11 tests third-party widgets and new Teams calling feature

Microsoft is rolling out support for third-party widget development and new video calling functions for Chat from Microsoft Teams in its latest developer build of Windows 11. The new features in Preview Build 25217 are available for folks enrolled in the Windows Insider program.

Now, developers can create and test widgets that can be added to the Windows 11 widgets panel. New third-party widgets can only be tested locally on the latest Insider Preview build for now, but can later appear in the Microsoft Store for the shipping version of their apps once the build is formally released to the public. Microsoft says that Widgets can only be created for packaged Win32 apps at this time, but support for Progressive Web App (PWA) Widgets is planned as part of Microsoft Edge 108.

Third-party widgets will eventually appear on the Microsoft Store following Insider testing

The Insider preview also includes a sneak peek (for a limited group of Insiders) at a new video calling experience for Chat from Microsoft Teams on Windows 11. When you open Chat from the taskbar, you’ll soon be able to see a preview of your own video feed, allowing you to fix your appearance or spot any background issues before starting a call. Microsoft hopes to make this experience more broadly available in the coming months, but a ‘small subset of users’ will already have access to the feature as part of a sneak preview release. You can launch Chat from your Windows 11 taskbar yourself to check if you’re one of the lucky few selected.

Microsoft Store updates showing new options to purchase a game or play on Game Pass.

Games in the Microsoft Store will show if they’re already available to play on Game Pass, which should help avoid you spending unnecessary cash.
Image: Microsoft

The Insider Preview Build 25217 also contains a few other feature updates, including improved cloud suggestions and integrated search suggestions for Simplified Chinese, and some design changes to the Microsoft Store. Now, the store makes it clearer if a game is included as part of Game Pass to spare you from accidentally purchasing a game you may have free access to. The Game Pass library is also getting a performance boost and some more simplified options.

It’ll be a while until these updates make it onto the public Windows 11 build, but if you’re especially keen to try them out then you can sign up for the Windows Insider Program and download the latest developer builds as they release.

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