Microsoft will develop the usage of its Fluid parts to a wider vary of productiveness and collaboration instruments, together with Outlook, OneNote, and Whiteboard — a part of the corporate’s ongoing effort to alter how individuals work together with paperwork.
Fluid parts – heralded by Microsoft as “atomic models of productiveness” after they had been launched two years in the past – are small apps comparable to tables, charts, and lists that may be inserted into totally different Microsoft 365 instruments and up to date by a number of customers in real-time.
Though it has been gradual to roll out the options, Microsoft in Could unveiled plans to introduce the parts to the chat perform in Groups. As a continuation of these plans, unveiled final week, Fluid parts shall be expanded to Groups conferences, in addition to the Outlook, OneNote, and Whiteboard apps. The general purpose: enhance conferences for customers.
The main target is on the creation of “parts” related to conferences, comparable to a shared agenda, with dialogue factors mechanically added to a devoted OneNote web page and concurrently made accessible from Outlook electronic mail and calendars. Notes and duties assigned in Groups throughout a gathering can be synced again to OneNote for all attendees to view.
“These Fluid parts guarantee assembly attendees have a transparent view of what was lined and learn how to proceed ahead,” Marissa Salazar, senior product advertising and marketing supervisor at Microsoft, mentioned throughout a briefing.
Microsoft will start a non-public preview for Fluid parts in Outlook, OneNote and Whiteboard this fall, with wider availability anticipated “early subsequent yr,” a spokesperson mentioned. The function shall be obtainable to Microsoft 365 industrial prospects solely. In the meantime, Fluid parts in Groups’ chat is presently in personal preview and with a full launch in August.
The introduction of Fluid parts to Microsoft’s collaboration and productiveness apps quantities to a shift in focus from particular person recordsdata to a extra versatile and collaborative strategy to paperwork inside Microsoft 365.
“One of many massive criticisms leveled towards Microsoft with Workplace 365 is that it merely took the desktop apps of Phrase, Excel, and many others .and recreated them within the cloud; it did not actually do a lot to alter or modernize the way in which individuals labored, besides that you simply now accessed the apps within the cloud,” mentioned Angela Ashenden, a principal analyst at CCS Perception.
“The Fluid parts are extra of a step ahead in altering how we take into consideration content material, recognizing that whereas paperwork have their place, not every thing must be a doc in and of itself,” she mentioned.
Microsoft isn’t the alone in searching for to higher join collaboration and productiveness apps. Rival Google launched its good canvas “constructing blocks” final month; it’s an identical idea that hyperlinks info between Workspace apps such Docs and Sheets with easy polls and checklists up to date concurrently throughout functions. Startups comparable to Coda, Airtable, and Quip are additionally making related strikes.
Because the market chief, Microsoft has a bonus, “so if it will get this proper, it has the consumer base to construct upon,” mentioned Ashenden.
Among the many different modifications introduced final week had been quite a few updates to Microsoft’s Whiteboard app due out this summer time, together with a brand new UI, improved “inking” utilizing a mouse enter, and the addition of options such “collaboration cursors” to indicate what coworkers are doing when collaborating and a “laser pointer” for highlighting info to colleagues.