Microsoft introduces Recall feature that records everything you do

Microsoft introduces Recall feature that records everything you do


21 May 2024

Microsoft has officially revealed "Recall," a new feature for Windows 11 that was previously speculated as "AI Explorer". This application will record everything you do and allow you to return to any point in time whenever you choose.

During the May 20 event, Microsoft disclosed that Recall can recall apps, URLs, chats, files, and much more. Furthermore, Recall may delve further into individual files, such as locating a particular slide in a PowerPoint presentation.

Here is how Microsoft describes it:

Recall uses Copilot+ PC advanced processing capabilities to take images of your active screen every few seconds. The snapshots are encrypted and saved on your PC’s hard drive. You can use Recall to locate the content you have viewed on your PC using search or on a timeline bar that allows you to scroll through your snapshots. Once you find the snapshot that you were looking for in Recall, it will be analyzed and offer you options to interact with the content.

Recall will also enable you to open the snapshot in the original application in which it was created, and, as Recall is refined over time, it will open the actual source document, website, or email in a screenshot. This functionality will be improved during Recall’s preview phase.

Microsoft's description of Recall in Windows 11 appears to be rather problematic in terms of privacy, thus the business must ensure that its consumers understand how it works. The official FAQ website states that all of that data will be collected in a single timeline and processed locally on your device.

The company further emphasizes that it will not store your encrypted data anywhere other than your local computer, and will not use that information to build its AI models. You will also be able to designate which apps or content should never be processed by Recall, and it will automatically disregard "certain kinds of content," such as Microsoft Edge's InPrivate browsing. Finally, you will be able to pause snapshots at any time by selecting an icon from the tray area.

As expected, Recall will only be available on "Copilot Plus PCs" that use Qualcomm CPUs and NPUs—no luck for older systems with Intel or AMD chips. In addition, you will need to set aside at least 25GB (a minimum of 50GB on your drive should be free) to preserve snapshots for about three months. The Settings tool in Windows 11 allows you to increase Recall's storage allocation.

It's also worth noting that Recall is now "optimized for English, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Japanese, and Spanish," but more language support is planned, and you can retrieve information in 160 languages.

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