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Microsoft Launcher beta gets new visual search and Rewards features

Mircrosoft Launcher
Mircrosoft Launcher (Image credit: Daniel-Rubino/Windows Central)

Following up on the launch of its first family safety feature last week, Microsoft Launcher is bringing a couple of additional new features to beta testers. Notably, the latest update enables intelligent visual search from the search bar, along with a way to keep an eye on your Microsoft Rewards points from the main feed.

As its name implies, visual search will let you use your camera to search for places and things around you. The feature uses a bit of AI magic to recognize everything from celebrities to landmarks and apparel, and then searches the web for more on whatever you capture.

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Additionally, if you're a Microsoft Rewards member, you'll now see your Rewards balance in the Launcher feed. You can also earn Rewards points for using Bing Search in Microsoft Launcher.

Here's a look at the official release notes:

  • Introducing Visual Search. Use the camera function through the Launcher Search bar to capture images and intelligently recognize celebrities, landmarks, items, apparel and more!
  • Microsoft Rewards: Now Microsoft Rewards customers can see their Rewards balance in the Launcher Feed and earn points for using Bing Search through Microsoft Launcher!

Last week, Microsoft also gave parents with Microsoft Launcher the ability to view the last known location and device activity of their children on Android phones running Launcher. Activity tracking is also now available across Windows PCs and Xbox consoles.

If you're enrolled as a beta tester, you'll see these features roll out to your Launcher soon with version 4.10. To become a tester, you can sign up on Google Play now (opens in new tab). If you'd rather skip out on beta testing, then these features should make their way to the release version soon.

See at Google Play (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

10 Comments
  • Can it set a timer yet?
  • If you set it as your assistant, you can long press the home button and Cortana will set an alarm. But, I guess the really question you're asking is, can activate it by using voice only. Sadly, that answer is no. However, I don't think MS has much say so of whether or not it can. I have yet to come across any virtual assistant that allows that kind of integration, outside of Bixby... And, that's only because I believe they were able to get permission from Google to do so.
  • Thanks. Setting an alarm does work, but setting a timer is such as simple thing for an assistant to do, it is an amazing oversite. Cortana doesn't seem to do other basics anymore, like tracking flights or packages. Time to move on, I guess.
  • Nice...of course all of the nice new goodness is US only again.... I HATE you Microsoft... 😭
  • US only... Ha ha ha ha ha... Just ordered an Apple Mac... 😂
  • US only again. I uninstalled Microsoft Launcher and Cortana but put them back on when I read about these improvements. US only so Microsoft are lagging further behind Google, etc again. I'm going to uninstall again.
  • Is there a world outside the US?
  • The launcher is missing basic features like pinning more than 1 outlook account and more than 1 OneNote page to the homepage.
  • Working great! Best Laucher ever!
  • Gave it another shot since they had a microsoft reward activity to install it but search activity not being tracked properly(like edge searches) so back to touchwiz I go