Microsoft Garage is an incredible incubator that lets its employees be creative and build upon new ideas that the company would have usually ignored. Sometimes these ideas are not good enough, or so good that a mainstream Microsoft product absorbs them.
The Cache app and service showed up August of last year; it was a desktop app accompanied by a mobile app for iOS; made possible thanks to Microsoft Garage, it gathered much attention because of what it could do.
The Internet Clipboard
Cache was essentially an online clipboard; the desktop app was a standard ‘.NET WPF’ app – interestingly, not UWP, but that’s because UWP doesn’t allow for the freedom Cache requires for its features.
The app lets users drag and drop text, images, web pages, files, URLs, notes, or anything they could think of into its stream. The app could also monitor the clipboard by itself, and update the stream in real-time.
The data then resided on the Cache service online, from where it was synchronized with the mobile apps. This feature, of course, worked the other way around as well.
Despite Cache not being a UWP app, the developers did a good job; the app used Microsoft’s Modern design language and was undisguisable from a standard UWP app.
Today, Microsoft announced the death of Cache and its online service. The app has been discontinued and will not receive any more updates. The online service will remain online until 28th of February, at which point it will shut down as well.
So, was Cache not good enough? Or was it good enough to be considered for assimilation into a larger Microsoft product? Who knows.
There are a few vague rumors about Windows having identical features built into the OS at some point in the future – perhaps even in Creators Update. If true, the demise of Cache makes sense.
Cache also had somewhat of a conflict with a similar app from the Office suite – OneNote. The parallels between the two are hard to ignore, but Cache was more focused towards the clipboard, while OneNote has always been about notes – the name is a hint.
Whatever the case may be, Microsoft Garage is meant to be an experiment lab; new ideas will come, and old ideas will go. The events we witness are just the giant wheels of Microsoft in motion.