Microsoft is starting to test a new feature of Windows 10 called "News and Interests" in Windows 10 Insider Dev Channel. The flow of news, weather and other information can be personalized and most importantly, completely turned off for those who are not interested.
Today's version of Dev Channel build 21286 comes from the RS_Prerelease ring. This means that this feature is included in the list of features that may (or may not) appear in a future version of Windows 10. I guess it will be in Windows 10 21H2, after testing.
The News and Interests feature is similar to the news feed that Microsoft displays through the Launcher app and Bing search pages. Microsoft's decision to bring such an add-on to the taskbar is attributed to the "stay on your feed" idea. Why spend some time loading another application instead of looking at your taskbar?
This new feed feature is probably the work of the Microsoft team (WebXT), which develops content services for Bing, Edge, MSN products.
Microsoft says News and Interests will be an ad-free experience that evolves over time based on customer feedback.
To turn off the News and Interests feature, you can right-click on the taskbar.
The feature is currently only available for Windows Insiders in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and India. The feature requires the installation of the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser. Microsoft executives said they were experiencing "different variations of this experience, so some Insiders will see different things than others."
For more information see Microsoft publication.