Alongside its latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19603, the company has also announced the launch of a beta version of its new news reading experience. The feature is in the form of a news bar which will compile updates from 4500 publishers in the Microsoft network. The app is now available for all Windows 10 users and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store.

While the tech giant does have a full-fledged news app offering the standard news reading experience, the idea behind the news bar is to give the user a source of news prompts on one side of their screen. Although the ticker experience does sound a little old-school and is in fact reminiscent of the Windows active desktop, news notifications alongside one’s routine activities on their computer may be a preferred experience for many.

While news consumption has seen an obvious rise due to the pandemic, people are refraining from over consumption; many have grown tired of the news too. The news bar gives the user an option to remove the bar or even hide it temporarily and receive updates once in two to eight hours. “It’s there to keep you up to date when you need it, how you need it, and where you need it” Microsoft said, describing the new product.

Stories on the news bar are regularly updated and users can hover for quick access or select the highlight to view the entire thing. The location of origin can also be customised; users can select the country providing the story. Besides this, the display can be trifled with. Users can play with background colours and the appearance of the news displayed can also be changed. The news bar supports multiple screens as well as light and dark themes of Windows 10. The feature is highly configurable and can be moved around on the users screen.

The news bar is currently a no-frills feature, not starkly different from other news apps in terms of content. Besides the option to monitor preferred stocks and selection of the country providing the news, the bar does not offer much as of now. However personalised upgrades such as sports and weather can be expected although there are no timestamps on these.