Clippy lives! Microsoft's animated Office Assistant returns

Those of you who have been using Office for many, many years will no doubt recall the days when Microsoft's productivity suite included digital companions, tasked - in theory, at least - with helping users to get things done more easily. In reality, these Office Assistants were just plain irritating, and no more useful in practice than accessing a standard text-based help database. 

A range of Office Assistants were created, but the most famous one of all was, of course, the paper clip. Clippy and friends made their last appearance in Office for Mac 2004, while the last PC version of the software to feature the Office Assistants was Office 2003. 

But now, there is cause for equal measures of rejoicing and despair with the resurrection of Clippy by digital flyer start-up, Smore. Created as a 'weekend project' by their developers, Smore explains: "Our research shows that people love two things: failed Microsoft technologies and obscure JavaScript libraries. Naturally, we decided to combine the two." 

Smore has brought back not just Clippy, but also Merlin the wizard, Rover the dog, and (my personal favourite) Links the cat. Other Assistants such Dot (a ball) and the Hoverbot have not been so fortunate. Clippy.js is a JavaScript implementation of the Office Assistants that can be embedded in any website. The full range of animations has been created, and can be enjoyed on demand on Smore's website, where more details are shared on the project. 

Smore says that its team had a lot of fun recreating the Office Assistants, and that it wanted "to share that fun and whimsy with everyone, and to remind people to try new and risky things, even when they seem really silly." 

Of course, the real Clippy is now enjoying his retirement, and living out his days on Twitter... 

Source and lower two images: Clippy.js at Smore.com

Top image from Family Guy™, © FOX. All rights reserved.

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