In what is a genuinely useful addition to productivity, Microsoft has announced a productivity framework/suite that developers can use alongside their Edge (or also known as the thing you use to download Chrome/Firefox on, then never to touch it again) browser for some unique collaborative work.
In essence, this framework allows developers to create things that are essentially containers that will work within a multi-app environment. Their product demonstration has this working on their IM client (likely Skype) and a productivity software like Word. You can check it out from the Build conference from the timestamp below:
A brief synopsis is also given from the newsroom page as well:
“To give people and teams new ways to create together, today we are announcing Fluid Framework. This is a new web-based platform and componentized document model for shared interactive experiences. Fluid will break down the barriers of the traditional document as we know it and usher in the beginning of the free-flowing canvas. Fluid is expected to be available to developers later this calendar year through a software development kit. Also, later this year we expect to deliver the first Microsoft 365 experiences powered by Fluid. Its capabilities include:
Enabling content, e.g., from the web or productivity apps, to be deconstructed and reconstructed into modular components so people can more easily create together.
Delivering high-performance, multiperson, co-authoring experiences at speeds not yet achieved in the industry.
Creating room for intelligent agents to work alongside humans to co-author, fetch content, provide photo suggestions, identify experts, translate data and more.”Microsoft Newsroom
For those who are less technically inclined, this basically means that collaborating with people in real time just got a lot easier due to multi-app support. Unlike Google Docs where you could only run it on an environment that has a browser, apps built on the Microsoft Fluid Framework will not have this limitation.
In the demo, the demonstrator can be seen editing a spreadsheet in real time that updates both on Word and Skype simultaneously.
Not only will this give Google Docs a run for their money, Microsoft also seemed to have one upped them in terms of usability. It is genuinely nice to see Microsoft introducing some consumer-centric features in a developer conference.
As of now, it is unknown whether this would be an Edge exclusive feature or if other browsers such as Firefox or Chrome is supported. Microsoft has also not announced any ETA on when this new feature will be available to consumers worldwide.