Microsoft is bringing back Google Wave, the doomed real-time messaging and collaboration platform that Google launched in 2009 and was prematurely shut down in 2010.
Maybe we should have seen this coming. Back in 2019, Microsoft announced the Fluid Framework (not to be confused with the Fluent design system). The idea here was nothing less than trying to reinvent the nature of business documents and how developers build applications in real time. Last year, the company opened Fluid’s sources and began building it into a few of its Office applications. Today, at the Ignite conference, it is launching an all-new product built on Fluid: Microsoft
Loop is a new – and conceptual – application that takes the Fluid framework, which provides developers with flexible mixing and matching components to build applications based on real-time editing, to create a new experience for users to collaborate on documents. In many ways, this was also a promise from Google Wave – real-time collaboration as well as the developer framework and protocol to bring Wave everywhere.
Now, you might say: Isn’t that the purpose of Teams? Why is this not included in Teams. And yes, it’s all in the works, but there will also be the Loop app, which Microsoft says “combines a powerful, flexible panel with portable components that move freely and stay synchronized across apps — allowing teams to think, plan, and create together.”
There are three elements to a loop: loop components, “atomic units of productivity” (my hat to whoever came up with that phrase) such as lists, tables, notes, and tasks; Pages repeat, “Flexible canvases where you can organize your components and drag other useful elements such as files, links, or data to help teams think, communicate and collaborate;” and Loop workspaces, which are shared spaces where you can somehow catch up on what everyone is working on and track progress toward shared goals.
One thing that Wave has never had which seems to be an essential feature of Loop is that Loop tracks the position of the cursor in real time. This is the current state of metaverse for you out there. Nothing says I’m present and active in a meeting like moving your cursor around, after all.
Some of the new Loop/Fluent components that are coming soon are a vote table (may add day one feature in Google Wave) and a status tracker.
Google Wave was clearly ahead of its time.
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