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Windows 8.1 looks to follow Android’s playbook for tracking users

Published Jul 9th, 2013 11:00PM EDT
Windows 8.1 Data Tracking Analysis

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Although Google has a seedy reputation for collecting exhaustive amounts of its users’ data to deliver targeted advertisements, it looks like Microsoft is planning to do some “Scroogling” of its own. InfoWorld reports that changes Microsoft is implementing with the upcoming Windows 8.1 update are geared toward making it easier to Microsoft to collect users’ local search data and deliver ads through the Windows Search desktop feature.

As InfoWorld puts it, Windows 8.1 “not only searches your computer for the string you specify… it also, all by itself, gathers up the terms and runs them through a Bing search” so that terms you search for on your hard drive result in advertisements for similar products on Amazon, eBay and other websites. InfoWorld also notes that Microsoft is encouraging users to set up a Microsoft account as a prerequisite for using Windows 8.1, similar to how Android devices encourage users to create Google accounts capable of tracking them across multiple services.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.