Microsoft's Loop collaboration app reaches preview, gets the 'Copilot' AI treatment

March 22, 2023
Microsoft's long-promised Loop collaboration app, which is getting an AI infusion via the Microsoft 365 Copilot technology, is now available in public preview.
Screen shot of Microsoft Loop app showing menu selections

In 2021, Microsoft announced plans to build yet another collaboration app called Loop. But it wasn't until today, March 22, that this competitor to Notion, hit public preview.

"Loop" is the branding that Microsoft is using for many, but not all, of its Fluid Framework collaboration technologies. Fluid Framework enables fast coauthoring and compound documents that include elements that are synched in near real-time. Microsoft already has been delivering Loop components in Outlook (for both Windows and the web) and Teams.

The Loop app can be used both as a standalone app/canvas, as well as in the form of an embeddable pages that can be built into Microsoft apps like Outlook, Teams, OneNote, Word for the web and Whiteboard, officials have said. The Loop app basically functions as a kind of project manager built around a common workspace. Users can build Loop pages using templates or by dragging blocks of content into their workspaces where they can collectively chat, comment, edit and keep on top of tasks and to-dos. SharePoint provides the underlying storage and collaboration platform for the Loop app, officials said.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft also is adding its Microsoft 365 Copilot AI assistant technology to Loop, officials disclosed today. Users will be able to use prompts such as "create," "brainstorm," "blueprint" and "describe" or use their own words to get specific, customized suggestions. While the Loop app itself is in public preview as of today, the Copilot in Loop capability is in private preview only.

To test-drive the Loop app public preview, users can go to the Loop home page to access it on the web. Or they can download the mobile versions of the app for Android and iOS, but currently for work accounts only. As Microsoft officials noted in a message in the Microsoft 365 admin center earlier this month, the Loop app is off by default in public preview, so it won't be available in organizations unless IT specifically enables it. The preview does not yet meet all of Microsoft's compliance capabilities, as eDiscovery, Sensitivity labeling and other features are not yet enabled. Microsoft officials said they will provide a list of what's coming when in future roadmap updates.

A company spokesperson said that Microsoft has "nothing to share at this time" about when Microsoft plans to make the Loop app generally available. Officials also are not yet talking about packaging, licensing or pricing for the Loop app.