Microsoft’s Recall feature sounds insanely useful

    Overnight, Microsoft made a series of new announcements spanning across hardware and software. One of the genuinely new features we haven’t seen before is Recall.

    Recall requires new hardware, a device that includes a Snapdragon X Elite with a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) to perform on-device AI.

    The feature (currently in preview) will come to Windows and attempt to extend our memory. Recall allows you to slide back through things you were working on in the past, limited only by the amount of memory you wish to allocate to this.

    Austin Evans does a great job of detailing how the feature works and how it’s not the security and privacy nightmare it first appears to be.

    Watch the video below, it’s well worth your time, but the brief overview is this. The feature takes screenshots in the background as you work, the date/time of these screenshots are aligned to a timeline you can skip back through. What’s great about this is the next part.

    Recall uses AI to identify the content inside the screenshots, then allows you to search back on the content. If you were searching for a new home office layout 3 weeks ago, the chance you can get back to that website is about zero, but by searching ‘Home office white theme with black floating shelves’, the image, complete with links to the website or document, would be available to you in seconds.

    This effectively extends your memory or ‘recall’ of what you’ve seen in the past. The hardware is required to ensure the images are processed locally, removing fears that secure content could be exposed to the internet.

    While many implementations of AI feel like they’re being shoved down your throat, this one feels genuinely useful to our lives and you have complete control over the setup, deleting the OS-level history like we do with our browser history, or totally excluding applications or websites.

    Nice work Microsoft, this feels genuinely innovative.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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