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Microsoft turns to AI to terminate borked search

by on21 May 2024

Total recall

Software King of the World Microsoft believes it has cracked the code to elevate Windows PC searches to the level of web searches.

Windows users have struggled to locate files on their PCs, while the system's search function has been a notorious resource hog.

During the Build 2024 conference, Microsoft introduced Rewind, a novel feature designed to make local searches on Windows PCs as efficient and effective as those on the web. Like third-party applications, Microsoft's Recall for Copilot+ PCs employs AI to fetch virtually anything you've encountered on your PC. The company likens it to endowing your PC with a photographic memory.

Microsoft Product Manager Caroline Hernandez demonstrated searching for a blue dress on Pinterest using a Windows PC equipped with Recall. She could use her voice to search the Recall timeline for "blue dress," which aggregated her recent searches, thus obviating the need to trawl through browser history.

She then honed the search with finer details like "blue pantsuit with sequined lace for Abuelita," Rewind promptly displayed the pertinent results.

The feature can also swiftly locate specific emails, documents, or chat threads on your PC. Microsoft explains that Recall employs semantic associations to forge connections, such as linking the term "peacock" to blue shades in the dress search.

Additional examples provided by the company include utilising Recall to voice-search for a particular PowerPoint slide. Microsoft asserts that the tool can commence with precise details or broad contextual hints to unearth the desired information. In one demo instance, a marketing phrase from a Teams meeting that Hernandez had forgotten was retrieved by providing Recall with contextual hints despite her inability to recall the exact wording.

Microsoft assures that Recall's processing is entirely local and will not contribute to training future AI models, ensuring that user data remains private, secure, and offline. The company utilises over 40 local multi-modal small language models capable of recognising text, images, video, and more to process Recall's data.

Recall will be exclusively available on Copilot+ PCs following the installation of the latest Windows Updates on June 18.

Last modified on 21 May 2024
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