This May, images of a Microsoft tool known as “Designer” leaked online thanks to “WalkingCat”. This week we received additional information about the Constructor that has yet to be announced. The code name for the project is Oasis.
Designer is a tool for creating Instagram and LinkedIn posts and stories, Facebook ads, brochures, invitations, and more. Users can start with a blank canvas or provided templates for their creations.
A preview of the Designer tool was briefly available on Designer.Microsoft.com for people with a personal or educational Microsoft account, but Microsoft has since blocked access to content at this URL, even though the Designer logo is always appears.
AI for creating Instagram posts
This designer preview page provided by WalkingCat this week shows a screen called “Let’s start with your content” where users can select the type of design they intend to create, answer the question “What do you want to say to your audience” and choose color scheme. “We use your content and artificial intelligence to create designs for you,” it says at the top of the page.
There is a note at the bottom of the design page “Check out more templates with Microsoft Create”. Cat tweeted yesterday that he found a create.microsoft.com link that apparently could store these templates. Those of us who tried to access this URL got a message saying that the site/app is not ready yet and will come back later.
Some have wondered if Microsoft intends to try and use the Canva graphic design platform/service with this new Designer product. Using Microsoft Sway extensively, I feel that Designer could be the successor to Sway, which Microsoft hasn’t updated since 2017 and seems to be abandoned for now. There may also be synergy between PowerPoint Designer and this new Designer tool, especially in regards to the concept of idea generation.
Are you using contextual IQ?
As for the AI element, I’m betting that when and if Microsoft ever announces the Designer tool, officials will say that Designer’s ability to suggest ideas and interpret user intent comes from its suite of Context IQ predictive AI technologies, which the company first discussed publicly in November last year.
I don’t know when Microsoft plans to release Designer and Create previews to the general public. I asked for a comment and expected the usual “we have nothing to share”.
As for the Oasis codename I found while digging through the create.microsoft.com URL, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has used it as a codename. When the Windows team was still planning to create various “skins” for Windows 10, the holographic skin was codenamed “Oasis”. I think since this idea is no longer relevant, the maintainers have decided that they can resurrect the Oasis codename.
Separately, Microsoft has updated pricing for its Clipchamp online video editor, as reported by Windows Central on August 4. The publisher has reduced the number of paid tiers to one and reduced the price of many premium features. Initially, as noted by Windows Central, Clipchamp’s premium tiers cost between $9 and $39 each; there is now only one $11.99 tier with all the premium features called “Essentials”. There is also a free tier.