Microsoft is resurrecting Google Wave, the catastrophic real-time communications and collaboration service that Google launched in 2009 and prematurely abandoned in 2010. Microsoft Loop, a hub for a different way of operating in Office, is shaping up to be the most critical improvement to Microsoft’s Office products in decades. Microsoft Loop is the new name for Microsoft’s Fluid work, consisting of self-contained bits of collaborative Office material that can be copied, pasted, and shared. Maybe we should have seen this coming.
In 2019, Microsoft introduced the Fluid Framework. (This is not the same as the Fluent design system.) The idea was to reinvent how business documents are written and how real-time applications are developed. Fluid was released as an open-source project last year, and the company began incorporating it into a few of its Office products. Microsoft Wave Loop is a brand-new product developed on top of Fluid that will be unveiled at the company’s Ignite conference today. Loop is a brand-new piece of software — and an idea — that uses the Fluid framework to provide users a new method to interact with documents.
The Fluid framework allows developers to mix and combine flexible components to create real-time editing apps. It was also Google Wave’s promise in many ways: real-time collaboration with a developer framework and protocol that would enable Wave to be used anywhere. “Isn’t that what Teams is for?” you could ask. Why isn’t this a Teams feature? Yes, all of that will be available. Still, Microsoft also plans to release the Loop app, which “combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across applications – enabling teams to think, plan, and create together.
“Three components comprise a loop: Lists, tables, notes, and tasks are examples of loop components, or “atomic units of productivity” (thanks to whoever originated that term). According to the Loop websites, “Flexible canvases where you may organize your components and bring in extra relevant resources like as files, connections, or data to let teams think, connect, and communicate.”And Loop workspaces, which are collaborative spaces where you can see what others are working on and track progress toward shared objectives. Loop components are dynamic pieces of content that may be found in various programs, are updated in real-time, and are accessible to anybody.
A list shared on a Teams channel that can also be altered in a Loop page or comments in a calendar item copied into Outlook and edited in real-time within an email are just two examples. These components may also be found in Microsoft Loop’s central hub, dubbed “shared Loop offices” by Microsoft.” It’s like a project board, containing a list of all Loop components and Loop pages, as well as who is working on them right now.” Consider it a modern File Explorer with interactive and live features. Loop looks to be a crucial function never included in the Wave: Loop tracks your mouse movement in real-time. That, my friends, is the state of the metaverse right now. Moving your mouse about in a meeting, after all, says, “I’m present and active.”