Things don’t look good for Microsoft when it accidentally roles out features that weren’t meant for the public’s eyes (just yet). The company claims it was an experimental test that was accidentally included within one of the preview releases (Dev Channel) of the Windows 11 operating system and quickly disabled it in future updates.
It initially popped up with a Dev Channel tester posting a screenshot on Twitter of File Explorer (within Windows 11) displaying advertisements targeting Microsoft software. The ad read “Write with confidence across documents, emails, and the web with advanced writing suggestions from Microsoft Editor”.
Microsoft Editor is a free tool, currently available from the Microsoft 365 collection of applications. It appears to be something similar to Grammarly in the sense that it allows you to monitor and correct your grammar across multiple applications/scenarios.
The tool may be free, but this raises concerns about what else this newly added ad space could be used for. We have enough ads following us around everywhere we go. We don’t need more embedded directly into our operating system’s file manager as well. That would feel like being violated within your personal space.
Microsoft was quick to “disable” the feature and claim it was experimental. However, the company wouldn’t be experimenting with it if it didn’t plan on eventually making use of it. That’s a lot of work to go through just to waste time with a feature you never planned to use in the first place. If it made it as far as one of the preview builds, then you can expect that it will eventually appear officially within the OS.
Hopefully, as long as users continue to push back against such things, the feature will eventually stalemate and never see the light of day (at least, not a second time).
Personally, I have been blocking or avoiding numerous websites and services that advertise too much. I even have a two-popup limit within websites. If you pop something up as I am browsing, I will close it and continue reading in most cases. Pop something up again about something else and I will close the page and stop visiting or use an ad blocker. If you then pop up a warning about the ad blocker that prevents me from browsing unless I disable it, I will block the site completely from use. I feel that everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with ads and harassment. Kind of like prompts to “review” an app or feature that don’t give you an option to ignore or “stop asking”. It’s overwhelming and ruins the entertainment or calm of browsing/working online.