Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Tangle seeks to untangle WFH office chat

Over a year into the work-from-home pandemic, you’re probably over Zoom, Meet, Teams and the like. Now comes a rival keen to untangle that mess.

We’ve all seen the inside of each other’s homes during the work from home pandemic, and while that mightn’t change in the months to come, the way we work and talk to each other could.

Between Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Slack, Facebook Messenger, and any other number of video-capable conferencing systems, there’s little doubt that in lieu of face-to-face communication, we have all rather become adept at communicating over webcam and navigating the ins and outs of random video call software.

As good as they are, we’re not entirely sure if any of them really feel like replacements for office life. Every time you need to chat to someone, you need to specifically message them for a call, rather than tap their shoulder or call their name out and have a chat. It’s not quite the same, even if it is something you can adapt to.

But there are solutions popping up, and one of them is coming from the makers of a Rick and Morty VR game. You mightn’t know the name Owlchemy Labs, but the folks who founded it have been working on a way to change remote video conferencing, forming a new company Absurd:Joy and building a tool called “Tangle”, something that ironically seeks to untangle the mess of working from home.

The idea is kind of like a Zoom or Meet room, except includes multiple rooms for people to work in. You have a room and a coworker has a room, and you can create rooms to meet people in, essentially having a remote office where everyone has a room and everyone can still meet.

“We created Tangle for ourselves. To collaborate meaningfully with our team. To jump into side conversations with each other seamlessly. To do focus work without being isolated. To leave notes on each other’s doors. To wander by our artist’s desk to see the concept art strung up around it. To laugh at the memes left on whiteboards in meetings we weren’t a part of,” said Cy Wise, Co-founder of Absurd:Joy.

“After months of building games as a team with Tangle as our primary communication platform, our friends began begging us for access and we realised that sharing this tool could bring us, our friends, and many others in many industries, vastly more joy.”

In a way, it’s like having a micro office that anyone can come and chat to you in, but working inside of a virtual world without the VR headset.

But as neat as the idea is, it’s not something just anyone will be able to play with. Currently, Tangle is in a beta period, so isn’t the sort of thing anyone can use right now.

When it launches, however, you won’t need to see the inside of everyone’s home with it, offering an option of video chat or avatars. That’s not unlike Facebook’s approach with its VR Horizon platform, though Tangle won’t require VR in comparison.

For the moment, companies keen to have a try can apply for access to the closed beta, with an expected launch early in 2022 for the general public.

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