Microsoft is giving Windows users a lot more control over their privacy, but will also make it clear what they give up when they restrict access to their data.
The company announced a pair of significant changes to its privacy management and settings on Tuesday. They’ll arrive as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update scheduled to ship this spring. However, Windows Insiders (those on the beta program) can download and try it now.
In a blog post explaining the changes, Microsoft unveiled a new web-based privacy dashboard where Microsoft service users will be able to see and manage the data the company has collected. From the page, Microsoft account holders will be able to clear their browser, Bing search and location activity. They’ll also be able to clear out whatever Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, has saved from their interactions.
On the other side of the equation, Microsoft is trying to help people who install Windows with their data-sharing preferences, guiding them through virtually every data-sharing option, including location, speech recognition and diagnostics. (Microsoft also noted that some data-sharing options will appear differently, depending on which version of Windows 10 you’re using).
As you make each choice, you’ll see the impact it will make on your experience. If you turn off Relevant Ads, for example, “The number of ads you see won’t go down, but they may be less relevant to you.” Hard to say if that will make your browsing life better or worse.
For those already using Windows 10, they’ll be prompted through notification to make data-sharing and privacy adjustments when the Creators Update ships later this year.