Microsoft News Roundup: Windows 11 Search, Surface Duo Insider Program, Xbox achievements, and more

Surface Pro 8
(Image credit: Windows Central)

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, the tech world went back to normal news this week. Over the last few days, we saw Microsoft test new options for Search on Windows 11 and reports about a potential Surface Duo Insider Program. A pitch for a new Xbox achievement system also made the headlines, as did Spotify Unwrapped not making its way to Windows.

Windows 11 Search improvements

Accessing Search within Windows 11 has been a bit controversial. The magnifying glass that shipped on the Taskbar proved unpopular and the pill-shaped box didn't win everyone over. Search zealots have asked for more options, and Microsoft has listened. The most recent Windows Insider build that shipped to the Dev Channel includes a whopping four options for Search.

Most notably, the new search box allows you to input text into it, as opposed to the search button which is in effect just a large icon. Our senior editor Zac Bowden went hands-on with the feature in his latest build video.

Surface Duo Insider Program

Surface Duo Insider Program

(Image credit: Future)

References to an Insider Program were spotted in the most recent Android update for the Surface Duo. Gustave Monce, who has a history of discovering hidden aspects of Microsoft devices, found mention of the "Surface Insider Program" on the Surface Duo.

Our senior editor Zac Bowden added insight to the discovered references. "According to my sources, this feature is used internally by engineers, but a public Insider Program for Surface Duo has been on the to-do list for the Duo team for many months," he said.

Microsoft is working on several features that could benefit from Insider testing, including a new cloud-based Continuum mode, a one-handed mode, and the ability to take notes with the Surface Pen on the lock screen. 

Xbox achievement proposal

Windows Central | Jez Corden (@JezCorden)

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft recently held its annual Hackathon event. The winning team is working on a tech support tool aimed at family members helping each other. But with over 10,000 concepts competing at the event, there were plenty of worthwhile ideas. One such project was an extension of the Xbox achievement system.

Dubbed Xbox Achievements 3.0, the system would work alongside the existing Gamerscore system rather than replacing it. Players would earn medals, similarly to what's seen on PlayStation.

Our managing editor Jez Corden exclusively reported the Xbox Achievements 3.0 project and shared several screenshots and videos of the concept.

Spotify Wrapped

Spotify beta for Windows on ARM

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

Spotify Wrapped comes out at the end of each year to show Spotify users their favorite artists, songs, and genres. 2022 is no exception, and Spotify Unwrapped launched at the start of December. That is, unless you use a Windows PC. Spotify Wrapped is only available on iOS and Android. Any playlists you save from the feature can be played anywhere, but you can't view your insights on a PC.

Our initial piece covering Spotify Wrapped 2022 includes steps on how-to use the feature.

Eufy camera scandal

Eufy 4K camera

(Image credit: Future)

Our colleagues over at Android Central covered the ongoing scandal surrounding Eufy. The popular camera maker, which is a sub-brand of Anker, was in hot water after Security researcher Paul Moore discovered several security flaws in Eufy cameras. Among other things, user images and facial recognition were being sent to the cloud without the consent of users. There were also accusations that live camera feeds could be accessed without authentication of any kind.

Moore and Eufy issued statements about the situation, and The Verge confirmed that it is possible to stream unencrypted videos from Eufy cameras without authentication.

Android Central officially announced that it can no longer recommend Eufy cameras and suggested steps that people should take and alternative cameras with similar features.

Review roundup

The Callisto Protocol snow night outside

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Our team of experts takes a close look at the latest games, gadgets, and accessories each week. The best-reviewed item this week was The Callisto Protocol, which received a 4.5/5. We also looked at a pair of bone conduction headphones, a flight stick, and a large pair of speakers from Monoprice.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).