Microsoft shared today on Twitter via a tweet by Joe Belfiore that Windows Timeline and the Cloud-Powered Clipboard, two features that were announced and demoed at Build 2017 earlier this year, will not be making the Fall Creators Update that is expected in September.
Whether you want to label them as delayed, cut, or not intended as part of the Fall Creators Update is up to you but when they were shown at Build every indication was that they were planned for the Fall Creators Update. Even the blog post that came about five days later, Project Rome: Driving user engagement across devices, apps, and platforms, indicated these were planned for the Fall Creators Update.
The real lesson here is that messaging in a time of agile development and Windows as a Service (WaaS) is challenging to say the least.
For example, on a Microsoft webpage that lists upcoming features for Windows 10, Windows Timeline is listed as one of the upcoming features for the Fall Creators Update and even includes a brief demo video.
What you can quickly miss is the asterisk next to the Coming to Windows 10 header:
That corresponds to the small text towards the bottom of the same page:
I am just fine with Microsoft showing off their plans for future updates to Windows 10 however, there needs to be more clarity when it comes to how they communicate the timeline for these features they are trying to get into the next feature update.
The asterisk and small print are very clear as shown above but Microsoft needs to put this message in a much more prominent place including the phrasing used at keynotes, demos, and other channels the company uses to talk about upcoming features. By providing that clarity, the confusion level should go way down. I imagine just simply adding the modifier of "we are looking at these features for a future update to Windows 10" would provide that clear messaging.
However, just go back through the commentary, coverage, and official content from Microsoft after these announcements landed at Build 2017 and they were distinctly tied to the Fall Creators Update even during the Windows 10 focused Day 2 Keynote by Joe Belfiore.
Here is that video at the 48:45 point - the messaging is very clear in this piece of the keynote about when Windows Timeline and the Cloud-Powered Clipboard are coming to Windows 10:
Again, the issue here is not that some big features announced at Build 2017 as part of the Fall Creators Update are not going to make the final cut for that feature update.
No, it is more about the need to be clearer about the messaging surrounding features planned for a future update of Windows 10, which is under constant real time development now, and making it much more obvious than just a small asterisk and small print at the bottom of a webpage.
Windows Insiders and other enthusiasts should actually get tired of hearing that every feature added to testing builds is not guaranteed as part of the next feature update until formally announced by Microsoft.
It may not stop the rash of articles, like this one, about features being delayed or cut but it will stop the referencing of Microsoft's own messaging that they were planned for a certain feature update.