Sure, the office crowd has chat apps like Slack and HipChat to coordinate what they’re doing, but what if you’re a shift worker who needs to swap hours? Microsoft (which already has GroupMe and Skype for Business, we’d add) might help. It’s testing Project Sonoma, a currently closed-access app for Android and iOS that helps shift workers keep track of the daily grind. You can see shifts, request swaps and chat with teammates either one-on-one or in groups. If you’ve ever wanted someone to cover your stint while you’re out at the dentist’s, this could be your app of choice.
Microsoft hasn’t said if or when it plans to release Project Sonoma to everyone. You can sign up for a waiting list if you want to get in. We’ve asked it about what’s happening and will let you know what it says. With that said, it won’t be surprising if you can try it soon. Our friends at TechCrunch suspect that Microsoft might have bought the developers of a very similar app, Shiftr — while Microsoft has plenty of experiments (such as its Garage projects), it would likely want to translate an acquisition to a widely available product.
Update: Microsoft tells us that it doesn’t have anything to say about launch timelines, but notes that Project Sonoma wasn’t born from an acquisition — it’s built “from the ground up” by a Microsoft team. You can read its full statement below.
“Project Sonoma is an app we are testing with a limited group of customers that lets employees view and manage their work shifts from their phone. People whose company has signed up to participate during the testing phase can install and use the app. We are not disclosing the names or number of companies participating in the test.
“We’re always building and incubating new solutions to help people get more done, and we don’t have any availability timelines or details to share at this time. We can confirm that Project Sonoma has been developed internally by Microsoft from the ground up and is not based on an acquisition.”