A day I've anticipated for quite some time has arrived. Today Microsoft started showing ads in the Start menu of the latest Fast ring version of Windows 10, build 10547.
Not all computers are showing them yet, but according to a report early this morning by Bogdan Popa in Softpedia, Windows 10 is now taking advantage of a "feature" that disappeared in an earlier beta cycle. Popa has a screenshot of a Windows 10 Start menu with an entry in the middle that says, "Suggested / WATCH Disney Channel -- Free."
As I explained almost four months ago, Windows 10 has many hidden advertising opportunities:
The Windows 10 lock screen has an advertising opportunity, called Windows Spotlight, that's supposed to help Windows users find unused features in Windows. WinRT programming guru WalkingCat (@h0x0d) talks about the underlying technology in two brief tweets. The Win10 Start menu has an open slot on the left side that will "Occasionally show app and content suggestions in the Start menu." One wonders how occasionally and what suggestions.
Microsoft turned off both settings for build 10240, the RTM build released July 29, although the Spotlight setting remained -- at least in name -- for Windows 10 Home.
Now, in build 10547 the settings have not only reappeared, they've apparently been armed.
Fortunately, it's easy to turn off the "occasional suggestions." Click Start > Settings > Personalization, then Start on the left and uncheck the box marked "Occasionally show suggestions in Start."