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Microsoft postpones the launch of its controversial Recall AI feature

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Microsoft’s Recall AI feature won’t be launching with the first batch of Windows 11 Copilot+ PCs on June 18. In an update on the Windows Blog, the company said that Recall will shift from being a “preview experience broadly available for Copilot+ PCs” next week to a preview that’s only available in the Windows Insider Program. It will only release the feature for all Copilot+ PCs after it receives feedback from its Insider Community of testers.

The company added that it’s adjusting Recall’s release to “ensure the experience meets [its] high standards for quality and security.” Microsoft has faced a lot of criticism related to Recall ever since it announced the feature at an event in May. Recall gives users a way to find anything they’ve ever looked at on their computer — web pages, images, documents, emails, presentations, chat threads, so on and so forth. It works by taking screenshots of a user’s activity every few seconds and then storing them in the “Recall timeline.”

Microsoft assured users when it launched that Recall processes data locally and will keep their information secure, but that wasn’t enough to assuage critics’ privacy concerns. The company announced more privacy and security changes to Recall earlier this month, including making it opt-in. When a user sets up a Copilot+ PC, its Windows OS will ask them whether they want to enable the feature. Users will also need to verify their identities through a Windows Hello authentication method, such as facial recognition or fingerprint scan, before they can access the encrypted Recall timeline. That’s not a foolproof method, however, since anybody who knows their PIN will still be able to see their Recall snapshots.

Despite those changes, Microsoft has chosen to delay Recall’s launch. Maybe the company realized that there’s room for improvement and that it’s better to be absolutely sure that the feature won’t end up becoming a massive privacy and security nightmare. At the moment, it doesn’t have an exact date for Recall’s availability in the Windows Insider Program yet. It will be accessible to testers in the coming weeks, though, and the company will publish a new blog post on how to get its preview version when it comes out. Testers will need a Copilot+ PC to be able to access it, though, since the feature will only work with advanced CPUs that come with neural processing units (NPUs) for AI tasks.



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