Microsoft is testing file recommendations in Explorer
Microsoft is starting to test a system called File Recommendations in File Explorer, which does exactly what the name suggests — when you visit the home tab, it shows specific files that you may want to open at the top. The feature is still in the very early stages, but it could be a sign of things to come, both good and bad.
In a blog post, the company says the current version is only available to some Insiders in its Dev Channel who have installed the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23403 update and will only work if you’re logged in with an Azure Active Directory account (meaning that currently, this feature feels squarely aimed at business users).
For those that do have it, it’ll suggest cloud files that you own or that have been shared with you.
Microsoft says it plans to “monitor feedback and see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone,” so it seems as if it’s aware that the feature could be controversial. Part of that may be just down to the fact that not everybody will want unexpected results in their file browser — though based on the screenshot, you will be able to collapse the Recommended section.
Another reason why it’s potentially concerning is that we know that Microsoft has been playing around with ads in File Explorer. It’s easy to imagine a recommendation system starting out being genuinely useful and showing you files that you need to work on but then starting to promote other things as well. See also: the Start menu.
Build 23403 adds a few other interesting tests besides File Recommendations. It expands Windows’ Live Captions system to support more languages, including Simplified and Traditional Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.
It’s also bringing its Access Keys system to File Explorer’s contextual menu, letting you select options like “Open With” or “Copy as Path” by pressing the menu key (it’s in the same position as your Windows key but on the opposite side of the space bar) and a corresponding letter. The company says that this feature also isn’t available to everyone yet.