Microsoft Graph bridges the gap between Windows and your phone
Microsoft’s push into being the connective glue between all your devices is encompassed in Graph. That is what the company is calling a handful of features it says will “connect dots between people, conversations, projects and content.” Announced during the second day of Build 2017, the aim is to make all things Microsoft work seamlessly, whether you’re on an iPhone, an Android device or a Windows PC. (And without mentioning Continuum.) It goes beyond that, tapping into Microsoft’s cloud storage services in a bid to make you more efficient switching across different hardware, and keeping track of (almost) everything you do on your PC. Let’s take a look.
Timeline is possibly the most intriguing feature, offering a (literal) timeline of what you were working on / doing on your PC months or even years ago. This will encompass files, apps and even websites: Microsoft says it’ll be as if you never left them. Will it offer older unedited files? Will this visual timeline only begin from the day you start using the latest version of Windows? We expect to hear more from Microsoft on this.
Cortana is, predictably, a prime part of that whole seamless digital experience. Microsoft explains you’ll soon be able to log off your PC, and have the document you were previously poring over pop up on your smartphone — who needs a coffee break, right? Cortana will ask if you want to pick up where you left off, whether it’s a document, website or app. It brings the promises of Continuum to phones that aren’t running mobile iterations of Windows. This is a good thing.
Clipboard is also picking up a cloud-powered upgrade, with the option to copy from and paste to any of your connected devices. At the moment, they have to be Windows machines or popular smartphones, and we know that for mobile devices, you’ll need to have Swiftkey installed as a keyboard to offer up the pasting shortcuts. It’ll be able to beam photos, links, entire paragraphs and even GIFs (less important) across your various devices.
The final part of the Graph pitch is Microsoft’s cloud storage service, OneDrive. Now with “Files on Demand”, users will be able to access and use all their cloud files without having them take up precious storage space on whatever device you’re using. They’ll be displayed in File Explorer, and you’ll still be able to lock them to work offline when you need to work without an internet connection. All these features will roll out with the Fall Creators Update later this year. Naturally, too, they will also arrive decked in the company’s new Fluent Design, ready for mixed-reality headsets in 2020.
Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft’s Build 2017.