Yesterday we learned Microsoft might be developing a new email application called Flow. Today, the first screenshots showing off the app leaked.
According to a download page marked “Microsoft Confidential,” the company described Flow as a “great way to have rapid email conversations on your phone with the people who are important to you.” We can also see that the app is built by the Outlook team (the full name is Flow by Outlook), suggesting it is meant to work in conjunction with Microsoft’s email app.
The page was discovered by Twitter user h0x0d, and reported on by ZDNet:
well Microsoft, if it really confidential, don't put it on publicly accessible Internet, LOL. pic.twitter.com/BX0Bw0SpKw
— WalkingCat (@h0x0d) May 19, 2015
While this download page points to the Flow being made available for iPhones, it’s not clear if other platforms are currently being tested as well.
Here is Microsoft’s pitch for the app:
Use Flow with anyone, it’s email: Reach anyone with an email address and all conversations for you and others are also in Outlook. Together, you can use Flow and Outlook interchangeably to participate in the same conversations.
Fast, fluid, natural conversations: No subject lines, salutations, or signatures. Flow is designed for fast, light-weight conversations in real time.
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.
While Microsoft isn’t sharing any details about Flow, Neowin managed to get its hands on a handful of screenshots. This is enough to confirm that Flow exists, though we don’t know when it may be available publicly, if ever.
In short, Microsoft has built a basic chat app, which uses email as the backbone — an interesting choice when everyone else is basing their communications tools on popular social networks. It is reportedly running on Exchange, and the conversations end up in your inbox for later reference.
It appears that Microsoft wants to build a chat app like everyone else. The unique idea is to use email addresses, which everyone has (especially in the business world), to speed up adoption and flatten the learning curve.
At least, that’s what we know so far. We’ve asked Microsoft for more details, and we’ll update you if we learn more.