Microsoft has introduced “Loop,” a new Microsoft 365 application that takes collaboration beyond the traditional document.
Microsoft’s collaboration strategy for the past few years has largely revolved around Teams. But there’s more than one way to collaborate, and, as of this week, another Microsoft collaboration app is in the mix.
At its Ignite IT Pro conference this week, Microsoft announced it’s rebranding many of its Fluid technologies as “Loop” and debuting a new standalone productivity app called Microsoft Loop.
“Just like Teams transformed collaboration and productivity, Microsoft Loop is the next big breakthrough in Microsoft 365,” Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro writes in the announcement post. “Microsoft Loop is a new app that 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.”
Loop builds on top of and extends Microsoft’s vision for its Fluid Framework, which the company introduced in 2019 as a way to provide fast coauthoring and compound documents that included elements synced in near-real-time.
Loop consists of three core elements: Loop components (previously Fluid components), Loop pages, and Loop workspaces.
Loop components are “units of productivity” that allow users to complete work and collaborate in the flow of work, either on a Loop page or in a chat, email, document, or online meeting. Loop pages are “flexible canvases” where users can organize their components and pull in elements like links, files, or data. Loop workspaces are shared platforms that allow users to see and group everything important to their project, ostensibly making it easier for users to catch up on what everyone’s working on.
Microsoft also announced an AI-driven feature of Office 365 called Context IQ. It uses the Microsoft Graph — which tracks connections among files, apps and people — to observe what people are working on throughout the day, then predict and suggest what information they need.
In the blog post, Microsoft said the feature is designed to provide relevant files, documents, calendar times and other information “right when you need it — at the point of action.” The feature, Microsoft said, aims to use AI to augment “human capability in ways that feel like magic.”