Microsoft releases new diary app for handwritten notes

Microsoft’s garage initiative is a playground for its own developers, where they can try new things. Time and again a piece of software manage to take the big stage, and now it’s that time again: Microsoft Journal has appeared.

Internal trial field

Microsoft Garage is an internal project of the Redmond group that has been in existence since 2014. The company encourages its employees to work on projects that are close to their hearts, even if they have nothing to do with their actual position in the company. Many of these never see the light of day, but some are widely released and even become an essential part of Microsoft’s offering. Perhaps the most famous example is Microsoft’s own Android interface launched as Arrow Launcher. This app is now simply available as a Microsoft Launcher on the Google Play Store and has over 50 million installs – and an excellent user rating of 4.7 points or stars.

Journal becomes Microsoft Journal

Now the following Garage development has been released to the general public: Journal is now called Microsoft Journal, the company name indicates that the (free) app is now fully official. On the occasion of the release, Microsoft has updated the design and adapted it to the look of Windows 11.

However, this does not mean that Journal is for all users, but for those who like to take handwritten notes with a pen. Journal can be used to write down ideas, make drawings, and annotate PDFs. The latter is a particularly popular scenario: according to (anonymized) usage data from Microsoft, about 59 percent of all users have opened a PDF in Journal, and “only” 41 percent have a blank page. in a blog post, Microsoft explains what makes Journal so special:

This includes an interface optimized for pen use, gestures, and their AI-based recognition, as well as other features related to artificial intelligence, including “Semantic Smart Ink”. Stevie Bathiche, an engineer and head of Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Division, explains: “We are entering an era of computational thinking, where AI is accelerating the tasks humans do and making us all more productive. Journal shows how powerful an experience can be. are when software anticipates our intentions. That’s just the beginning.”