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In context: Microsoft recently showcased the AI-powered Recall feature for Copilot+ PCs running Windows 11. It is officially available exclusively on devices powered by next-gen chips with an integrated Neural Processing Unit (NPU), but that’s not stopping developers from trying different hacks or creating third-party apps to enable it on unsupported devices.

Last week, coder and well-known Windows tipster Albacore demonstrated how Recall can be enabled on traditional Windows 11 PCs without a built-in NPU. Now another developer has created a third-party app to bring similar functionality to all devices running Windows, macOS and Linux. Called OpenRecall, the new tool is free and open-source software (FOSS) that promises to be a privacy-focused alternative to Recall for virtually any PC or Mac without hardware restrictions.

According to the app’s GitHub page, it captures the user’s digital history by taking regular screenshots, just like the official Recall. The text and images within these screenshots are then processed using OCR (Object Character Recognition), allowing users to quickly find specific information by searching for relevant keywords. Users can also manually scroll back through the screenshots to revisit their past activities.

OpenRecall is a free and open source alternative to Microsoft’s Recall feature

While the official Recall is facing scrutiny for its alleged security failings, OpenRecall promises to be a safer alternative, thanks to its open-source codebase that will allow random audits to root out any potential backdoors. The app also stores and processes data locally, so users don’t have to worry about uploading their information to third-party servers. That being said, OpenRecall does not encrypt the stored data for now, so it remains to be seen if the option will be added in the future.

The availability of an open-source program like OpenRecall is a welcome development, as it will allow people to take system snapshots on their existing devices without sacrificing their privacy. However, the lack of encryption or a password protection option means it is not yet the full-fledged privacy-focused alternative to Recall that the developer would have you believe.

As for the original Recall, Microsoft is positioning it as an innovative feature to help users quickly find elements from their past activity, but it has evoked mostly negative reactions from users and privacy advocates who believe it will become a privacy nightmare. Security researcher Kevin Beaumont is one such critic who claims that the feature is full of security holes and a disaster waiting to happen. According to him, Microsoft “should recall Recall and rework it to be the feature it deserves to be.” Microsoft Research’s chief scientist, however, seems to disagree.

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The post OpenRecall is a free and open source alternative to Microsoft’s Recall feature first appeared on www.techspot.com

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