gigjam iosIn this GigJam example, the circled data would get shared with your collaborators, but they couldn’t see what was crossed out.Matt Weinberger

Microsoft has announced that GigJam, its bizarre but oddly compelling work-sharing app, will be discontinued before it was officially and fully available

It’s hard to describe exactly what, exactly, GigJam does (or did). Back in September 2015, Microsoft GigJam leader Vijay Mital told me it represented “a new form of communication.” 

Basically, to use GigJam, you’d pull up a bunch of business data from various sources — Salesforce, Outlook, Microsoft Office 365, LinkedIn, whatever. Once you have the data you want to work with, you literally use your mouse or finger to circle it. Anything you specifically don’t want to share, you cross out. 

Then, when you invite someone else to your GigJam project, they see the stuff you circled, and not the stuff you X’ed out. This is handy if, for example, you wanted someone to help you sort medical records without having to share social security numbers, or if you’re a designer who doesn’t want to share trade secrets with an outside contractor.

Like I said, it’s a little hard to explain. Which may be why GigJam never rated a full, formal release: It got a free preview in the summer of 2016 for anybody to try, but it never really caught on. On September 22, 2017, the GigJam preview will officially close down for good.

Still, speaking personally, I love weird experimental apps like GigJam, and I’m sorry to see it go. Still, Microsoft says that at least some of the ideas pioneered in GigJam could have a future. GigJam introduced a new way to spontaneously create unstructured workflows and the Preview delivered learnings and insights that will inform future product experiences,” Microsoft in the blog post.

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