Originally, Zet Universe was inspired by our founder's previous work at Microsoft (2007-2010), made in collaboration with the Office Labs and Office Labs Envisioning teams.
Between 2007 and 2009, those teams worked on many aspects of the future of Productivity, including but not limited to new device form factors (be that new phones, tablets, walls, or big desktops), new kinds of team software (precursors to Slack and Yammer, spatial environments, etc.), and so on.
Some of those ideas were released by Office Labs via the (now defunct) website officelabs.com, and experiments like "Canvas for OneNote" became truly popular among the Office power users. But, certainly, the biggest visible outcome of that work was the Productivity Future Vision video itself, shown below.
SPATIAL UX: CANVAS, PLEX, ETC.
That amount of attention led to creation of several projects, with most of them concentrated in the Office Labs organization.
The spatial environment itself, internally also called as "Plex", or "Canvas", was designed to be a zoomable infinite canvas, one that enables users to intuitively organize their information into projects ("spaces"), and each of those spaces to have rich information objects placed directly on canvas. By zooming in and out, one could jump from small details to the "bigger" picture, following their thought process, and by organizing objects spatially, one could organize them by their meaning to each other.
These simple principles have been forever imprinted in the teams' hearts and minds, and thus many variations of this spatial environments were born in the process:
- Canvas for OneNote (made by Office Labs)
- Windows Canvas/Project Universe (made by our founder, Daniel Kornev)
- pptPlex (made by Office Labs)
- Plex (made by Office Labs Envisioning)
- Code Canvas (made by MSR)
- Debugging Canvas (made by MSR)
- (some other internal undisclosed prototypes)
Windows Canvas, made by our founder, later became a foundation for Zet Universe, while other apps either got their app momentum (like Canvas for OneNote), or at least got their attention in the press:
People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.
It was not just a set of devices, but a dream of a new set of devices for productivity, for information workers: new tablet, new phone, big wall, and a Spatial Desk.
By 2010, the Envisioning team got first hardware prototype of the Spatial Desk:
WHERE ARE WE DECADE AFTER?
MICROSOFT: DECADE LATER
ZET UNIVERSE: DECADE LATER
ITERATIONS #1-#8 (2009-2016)
ITERATION #9 (2016-2017)
However, it's great to see that some of the hardware envisioned for the Information Workers of the future, is now available.
As of us... We've made a lot of iterations, learned a lot in the process, tried many different things... We've made mistakes. We've got some positive feedback.
Today, we have a fantastic team, and we are looking forward to impress you with our newest software, delivering you a spatial environment you could only dream about!
ITERATION #10 (2017-2020)
After leaving Yandex, our Founder made more experimental integrations with Snips (now acquired by Sonos), ABBYY Information Extractor, Integrum, and other Russian and international information processing/cognitive/Conversational AI systems. The last integration was made for a Conversational AI startup our Founder was consulting in a CPO role in late 2019-early 2020.