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4 leaked Microsoft apps reveal an exciting, intelligent future for productivity

Mark Hachman | May 27, 2015
Thanks to a Twitter leaker, a new wave of Microsoft productivity apps shows themselves, including a stripped-down version of OneNote and an Office version of Cortana.

I often take a photo with my phone, then wait for it to move to OneDrive, then download it back to my PC. OneClip appears to be a synced folder between your phone and PC, so content can roam back and forth. It's not a critical app (after all, there are plenty of ways to move content back and forth, including a wired cable) but it seems to be a nice convenience for Windows PC users.

As the screenshot seems to indicate, Flow is essentially a stripped-down version of Outlook, with an emphasis on chatting, rather than formal emails back and forth. It reminds me of the way Facebook Messenger used to work, with the lines blurring between real-time messages and emails that were archived in an inbox. Speaking of Inbox, thank goodness Microsoft didn't go that route.

Office Now: Office Now--hopefully a code name, due to its (intentional?) similarities with Google Now--is basically a focused version of Cortana, it appears. Mary Jo Foley reminds us that Office Now appears to be Office Assistant, the special project that Bill Gates was working on at Microsoft and called "Personal Agent" in an "Ask Me Anything" session with Reddit. Earlier this year, it appears to been called 'Work Assistant."

The new features that apparently have been included in the latest update seem designed to speed you on way to meetings, both today and tomorrow. Travel cards note any offsite meetings on your calendar for tomorrow, and "atypical" notifications alert you if a meeting room changes or is booked. And your lock screen of your Windows phone will give you your schedule, how much time you'll spend in meetings, and when the last one of the day will take place.

Five years ago, could you ever think you would be truly excited about new productivity apps from Microsoft? Yet here we are. If it all pans out, these four apps could be truly useful stuff. I can't wait until they arrive.


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