Project Origin: Microsoft and UW's file system prototype

Microsoft and UW appear to be working on a cloud-based file system. Have a look and see what it's all about!
Written by Stephen Chapman, Contributor on
Another day, another file system prototype. A video of a sponsored project between Microsoft and UW IxD (University of Washington Interaction Division) has recently surfaced. Project "Origin" showcases ideas for a new file system that appears to make use of the cloud; thus, creating a new seamless experience between multiple devices. To quote:
Origin connects you with your files - it is a file management system that tags your data using contextual markers the way your brain does. It delivers what you want, when you want it and makes it easy to find everything else.
Along with UI and UX ideas to support how one might interact with this new file system, the video below showcases the fruit of their prototyping labor (personally, I had a good chuckle at the Star Wars bit):

To be clear, this isn't a file system Microsoft has created for use in Windows or anything else, per se, nor is it clear if Microsoft ever plans to use it; however, the significance of this prototype is that Microsoft is involved and the project involves a particularly hot topic in the OS world: file systems. Now, as many of you know, Microsoft is no stranger to dishing out money hand-over-fist in research, but could internship cost-like (A.K.A, "free") projects doled out to universities be part of a new Microsoft research strategy? A little over a month ago, I wrote an article about a document submitted to Microsoft that contained UI/UX ideas for consideration with Windows 8 development -- all developed by a group of students under the supervision of Microsoft R&D India. Personally, I don't believe it's a new thing at all for Microsoft to take this route. I think it's a case of it becoming more visible, thanks to how information is shared these days on a very social Internet. Back to Origin, here is the project brief as noted by one of the individuals involved with the project:
Project brief: With the proliferation of mobile devices, cameras and other sensors combined with cloud computing and pervasive connectivity, the technologies exist to greatly simplify the ability to get connected and stay connected. How can we design for experiences that leverage these technologies to create new opportunities to engage with others in ever more meaningful ways?
With project Origin demonstrating just how much thinking is continuing to be invested into the cloud paradigm, how do you feel about the future of computing -- specifically, file storage/sharing/retrieval -- being steered more-and-more into that direction? I still keep everything local and prefer not to trust my data to remote storage devices, but that's just me. As for you file system buffs out there, what do you think of this concept? Boring? Interesting? Should never see the light of day? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! And if you're interested in Microsoft and file systems, don't miss Mary-Jo Foley's previous write-up on "Dryad", which contains a file system called "TidyFS." -Stephen Chapman SEO Whistleblower
Editorial standards


Trade in your old devices for Amazon gift cards. Here's how
Google Pixel Car Crash Detection

Trade in your old devices for Amazon gift cards. Here's how

Kindle Scribe vs ReMarkable 2 Tablet: Digitize your notes

Kindle Scribe vs ReMarkable 2 Tablet: Digitize your notes

XeroLinux could be the most beautiful Linux desktop on the market
The default XeroLinux desktop.

XeroLinux could be the most beautiful Linux desktop on the market