One of the more hush-hush changes to Windows Live Messenger Wave 4 is the tie in of Internet Explorer’s SmartScreen Filter technology. Basically, links you receive will be transformed in such a way that upon clicking them you’ll be pushed through a redirector controlled by Microsoft before reaching your end result… if Microsoft deems it safe. To be a little more specific, you’re sent to the ominous appearing http://rdir.us with some undocumented parameters tacked onto the end. A full URL may appear as such:
If it’s safe to proceed, this redirect shuffle takes only a second or two to complete. If things look a little bit fishy, Microsoft will throw up an interstitial page similar to Google and Facebook (below). I’m not sure what this page looks like when things are real bad, but I’m sure it involves varying shades of red and the acronym GTFO.
Figure: Windows Live making sure I don’t give my password to the Chinese.
While I can appreciate Windows Live’s efforts to reduce malware proliferation and increase overall safety of its users online, the following issues come to mind:
My links are cataloged by some black box in the cloud, ready for hacker attack or spillage. (Think AT&T iPad fiasco.)
The warning page treats me like a dummy.
I can’t turn the damn thing off.
What do you think? Would you leave this on or turn it off (if you had the chance)?