Microsoft calls time on Timeline: Don't worry, more features that nobody asked for coming your way

Activity history tracker over mobile devices set to become history


Microsoft is set to pull down at least one shutter on the once-trumpeted Timeline feature of Windows 10, judging by the most recent emission on the Windows Insider Dev Channel.

Lurking within the tedium that usually makes up a Dev Channel build nowadays was the following nugget:

If you have your activity history synced across your devices through your Microsoft account (MSA), you will no longer have the option to upload new activity in Timeline.

Timeline first made an appearance in 2017 along with previews of other doomed Windows 10 features such as Sets. It made it as far as release in 2018 and carried with it the dream of synchronising activities over devices. Open a website in the Edge browser on an Android phone, for example, and it would show up in Timeline on one's PC.

Alas, the dream looks set to end. With the axe falling on Cortana on Android and iOS, there was a certain inevitability in Timeline (at least in the mobile world) following suit. Microsoft’s assistant would previously ask if you wanted to continue a task from another device when you switched to a new one.

Local activity history will remain on Windows 10 and Microsoft has directed users to browser history functionality, but the original vision of Timeline is to be led around the back of the barn by a Microsoft engineer.

Not to worry though. The Timeline adventure has not stopped Microsoft continuing to force features that nobody asked for down the throat of users. Its weird obsession with the News and Interests app has continued, and is now available to 100 per cent of Dev Channel Windows Insiders whether they want it or not: "We can't wait to hear what you think!" squeaked the company excitedly.

More useful updates this time in the Dev Channel build include the ability to restart applications automatically following reboot and sign in, as well as a raft of fixes (including several around HDR support and the broken virtual GPU for Windows and Linux guests.

But for Timeline, as originally envisioned, it seems that, er, time might be up. ®

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