Windows 10: Why have PWAs been installed without user permission?

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Windows 10: ¿por qué se han instalado las PWA sin permiso de los usuarios?

A few days ago we told you that Microsoft was installing progressive web applications (PWA) in Windows 10 without user intervention. More specifically, Microsoft is testing the Office PWAs, and their deployment in the system occurs through Edge Canary, the test version of the Redmond browser. The test has therefore been performed, and that is important to note, through the Windows 10 test channel, so it has only reached insiders.

Even so, even though insiders agree to participate in Microsoft’s testing programs (which, in the end, is the raison d’être of said program, being a betatester of what is to come), there is an important difference between adding new functions to Windows 10 or modifying existing ones, than adding new software to the system, automatically and without prior authorization from the user. Insiders, as a general rule, welcome news with open arms, so the most logical thing would have been to consult them first. And don’t add entries from Excel, Outlook, Word and PowerPoint from the system Start menu.

Now, after the controversy that this way of proceeding has caused, there are several voices that point out that the automatic installation of PWAs in Windows 10 would have been due to an error, that is, that Microsoft had no intention of acting in this way. The last person to point it out is Mary Jo Foley, a fairly reliable voice who publish on ZDNet a possible and plausible explanation for what happened. And the interesting thing is that yes, it would be a mistake … but only half.

As an immediate response to the bad reaction to this error, Microsoft will stop the automatic deployment of Office PWAs in Windows 10 through Edge, but they still intend to use this function to facilitate the integration of these types of applications in the system . According to Foley’s sources, Microsoft’s plans now involve finding the best way to manage these actions. Something that, if we rely on common sense, suggests that the installation of them in Windows 10 is only carried out after explicit approval by the user.

One possibility, in order to give visibility to them without installing them in the system, is highlight them in some way in the browser. It is true that, with this model, they do not have as much visibility as if they are integrated in the start bar or in the Windows 10 start menu. Another possibility is to add these new apps to the list of optional system updates. The worst solution, without a doubt, would be to include it in the terms of use of Windows 10 and / or Microsoft Edge. In this way they could claim that users have already been informed (by accepting the licenses), but it would not give a particularly positive image of the company.

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