As I dial in to a conference call, a little bit on the new Microsoft Office Labs site, launched today... as Chris Pratley notes...
"Welcome to Microsoft Office Labs." It's great to be able to say that. For quite some time the Office Labs team has been exploring ideas internally at Microsoft. Now we'd like to show you some of our ideas and ask you to give them a whirl.
"We're a group of designers and developers that collect ideas from all over Microsoft (but mostly from Office and other products related to 'getting stuff done' - what we call 'productivity'). We build working prototypes of the most promising of these ideas to see if they work as well as we hope they might."
Office Labs is filled with prototypes of add-ons, web services and other downloads.
The prototypes you see here are like "Concept Cars". They aren't products or features of Microsoft Office. Don't expect them to work perfectly, or be available here forever. Just as when a concept car is shown at an auto-show, one or two or none of the ideas shown might make it into a future vehicle. Everybody knows its unpredictable, so don't go off thinking this is some kind of preview for future versions of Office, ok? Anyway, we thought it would be interesting to present some ideas we are exploring.
"Of initial interest...
InkSeine from Microsoft Research: Use your Tablet PC with an interface uniquely tailored to pen input. The tool fades into the background so that you can focus on capturing your ideas, sketches, and creative thoughts. Integrates search and inking.