It appears Microsoft is working on a new mobile app that transforms an email exchange into something resembling an instant messaging back and forth. The software was revealed apparently by accident when its product page, marked “Microsoft Confidential,” was put online ahead of launch.
Spotted by eagle-eyed Twitter user @h0x0d, the forthcoming app, called Flow, will allow users to have “rapid email conversations on your phone with the people who are important to you.” On the surface, correspondence with Flow will likely look similar to exchanges on popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Apple’s iMessage, though it’s email that’s behind the system.
If the recipient of the message doesn’t have Flow, incoming messages will simply turn up in their Inbox as a regular email would. Designed to work in combination with Outlook, Flow will supposedly offer “fast, fluid, natural conversations: No subject lines, salutations, or signatures,” and is designed “for fast, light-weight conversations in real time.”
The description continues: “Focus on what’s important: Only conversations started in Flow and their replies show up in Flow, not your whole Inbox. Focus on your most important person-to-person conversations without the noise.”
Flow, which according to the leaked product page will be for iOS devices only at the start, isn’t Microsoft’s first stab at transforming its communications software into something faster, simpler, and more streamlined. Last year it rolled out Skype Qik in an effort to place the famous video-chat software alongside apps like Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, which offer easy video messaging at the touch of a button. Whereas Skype is generally used for long video calls, Skype Qik is designed for short exchanges, with messages disappearing after two weeks. It also offers a “Qik Flik” option that lets you send a five-second video with a single tap when you don’t have the time or desire to record something longer.
It’s not clear when Microsoft will release Flow, but with a product page already lovingly designed, we imagine the launch is just around the corner.