Microsoft's competitor to Notion, its Loop app, is now in private preview

Microsoft is moving forward with its competitor to the Notion collaboration and project-management app, and is adding more features to its embeddable Loop components.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

A year ago at its Ignite 2021 conference, Microsoft announced plans to build a standalone Loop application. The Loop app, a head-to-head competitor with the Notion collaboration app, is in private preview as of this week, officials said on October 12.

Microsoft officials describe the Loop app as being designated to "help teams to think, plan and create together... and work on projects collaboratively." The Loop app includes workspaces, pages and components that sync across Microsoft 365.

"Loop" is the branding that Microsoft is using for many (but not all) of its Fluid Framework collaboration technologies. Officials first introduced Fluid Framework in 2019 as a way to provide fast coauthoring and compound documents that included elements synced in near-real-time.

Loop can be used both as a standalone app/canvas, as well as inside other apps in the form of embeddable components that are built into other Microsoft apps like Outlook, Teams, OneNote, and/or Whiteboard.

Speaking of Loop components, Microsoft also is announcing this week at Ignite 2022 updates to some of its existing components, plus the addition of some brand-new Loop component types. Users will be able to insert a poll, checklist or task list component into a Word for Web document -- either under the Inert Menu or by using Editor with Context IQ by typing the "@" sign to trigger the most relevant content. This capability is due to be in private preview by year-end.

Users also can copy an existing Loop component and paste it into Whiteboard in Teams, web and/or desktop. This is slated to be generally available by year-end. The Polls component type (based on Microsoft Forms) will allow users to create surveys, quizzes and more that stay in sync across Outlook on the web and Word for the Web. This will be in private preview by year-end. And the new Q&A Loop component will allow users to collect answer to questions in real-time in Outlook on the Web. This will be generally available in November, officials said.

A new Sensitivity Labels capability, allowing users to set a level of security for their Loop components, is coming, as a Data Loss Prevention feature for Loop components. Both of these new security component features will be generally available for Loop components in Team Chat by the end of 2022.

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