Microsoft Garage has launched a new application, which is a handwriting focused note taking suite called Plumbago.
The app is the latest from Redmond's Garage initiative, which is comprised of small teams across the company who are looking for ways to enhance current services or create new interesting software.
While the Plumbago app may seem archaic at first glance, it actually fits perfectly into the Garage ethos of developing software that is not necessarily meant to stand next to Microsoft's core suites.
The similarities between Plumbago and Microsoft's own Evernote cannot really be ignored, so the argument that the new app is a bit redundant is not without merit. However, the Garage team says it is targeting the more casual note taker with Plumbago, and in essence this type of creative thinking off an existing Microsoft suite is what Garage is all about.
Whether that's good or bad, we'll let you decide, but certainly Microsoft is a better place with the Garage initiative helping to build on existing concepts and even create new ideas. The team behind Plumbago say they are trying to simplify the note taking process and get more people to consider digital methods over good old pen and paper.
“Can we improve a person's handwriting when using the surface? Can we improve notebook navigation? Handwriting beautification requires efficient stroke matching across the thousands of strokes written by a user. If matching strokes can be found, the strokes can be ‘averaged' to produce more consistent and easier to read handwriting. For notebook navigation we explored ‘infinite paper', which allows a user to treat a notebook as a discrete set of pages or as one large continuous piece of paper. The UX choices and efficient implementation are critical to making a seamless experience.” – Microsoft Garage
Out of the gate the app works well, delivers a solid writing experience, and comes with such features as the ability to include photos and adjustable handwriting smoothness. The inclusion of the radial tool selection menu is well thought out and suits stylus use well, showing that Microsoft Garage is an excellent side project that should be supported.