Perseverance–23 Feb 2021

In honour of NASA’s incredible journey to Mars, we’re changing our naming slightly for this release.

💅 Design Mode

Change your galaxy background and create your perfect space in a flash with our all-new Design Mode.

⌨️ Keyboard navigation

Walk around the galaxy using Alt-[Arrow key] or go a bit slower with Alt-Ctrl-[Arrow key]. We’ve also improved keyboard navigation in a number of other subtle ways around the app. This should be a great help to people who use their browser without a mouse.

🔗 Embed web pages directly into your galaxy

We already had YouTube videos and Apple Music embeds, but you can now embed any web page into your galaxy using the toolbar at the top of your galaxy.

Try embedding Google Docs or a company calendar to power up your galaxy.

🏋️‍♀️ Other small improvements

  • Move and pan directly to a pin from the context menu
  • Improved display of your “Audible ring” so it’s more easily visible on all backgrounds
  • Improved the contrast on various bits of the interface
  • Improved consistency of labels for people, pins and links
  • Switch your galaxy into presenter mode, so you can choose your active speakers.
  • Audio is handled in a more performant way than before

 

Eris–3 Feb 2021

🛰 Zoom in and out of your galaxy

Using your mouse wheel, trackpad, or the zoom buttons in the bottom-right of the galaxy you can zoom in and out of your galaxy. This really helps orient yourself and get an overview of the galaxy and where everyone and everything is.

🎨 Faster access to add items to your galaxy

We’ve got a new toolbar at the top of the galaxy that gives you really fast access to add new items. We heard that people were not finding the old menu button and that it was slow to add new sticky notes – this new toolbar is much easier to use.

😱 Give the gift of GIFs

You can now search for and send your favourite reaction GIFs from the reaction bar and the chat message box.

📍Enclosed audio zones for pins

When you create pins, you can give them their own “audio zone”. This means that they have a circle around them, and if you move within the circle, you’ll be connected to everyone else in the circle at full volume. Think of it like being in a meeting room where everyone wants to hear everyone else.

We’ve done this to make it easier to have larger meetings in your galaxy without having to all stand uncomfortably close to each other.

🎹 Keyboard shortcuts

We’ve added a host more keyboard shortcuts:

  • Zoom out/in with – (minus) and = (equals)
  • Centre on your own marker with 0 (zero)
  • Open the GIF reaction picker with G
  • Send emoji reactions with 1-9 corresponding to your chosen emojis in the reaction bar

That’s it for this release. I’m going to look up some more planets that are outside of Neptune’s orbit for next week.

In the meantime, keep the feedback coming in!

Pluto–26 Jan 2021

Before we start, let’s just clear one thing up… here, we consider Pluto to be a planet. It’s also handy that we don’t have to think of a new naming convention for our releases until next week.

Anyway, without further ado, take a look at the things you can do in your galaxy now!

📺 Embed Youtube videos directly into your galaxy

This is great for watching a video with colleagues for a “lunch and learn”. Or if you want to Rickroll people. Click here to find out more about embedding Youtube videos.

🎸 Embed music, radio and other web pages into your galaxy

When you post a link into chat, we now give you the option of embedding that link into your galaxy. This is great for things like office radio, or showing a Google Slides presentation without having to switch tabs.

📝 Virtual sticky notes

Great for jotting down tasks, brainstorming or holding Agile retrospectives.

It also allows you to send notes to co-workers, or leave a note for them if they’re out – just like you would in a real office.

You can add Youtube videos and Stickies to your galaxy via the button in the bottom-left corner:

We hope these changes make your remote working life easier. As always, we love to get feedback from our users, so please get in touch and let us know what you love, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see us add in the future.

If you’ve read this far, you might like to follow us on Twitter where you’ll get suggestions and inspiration on how to use your galaxy. And we’d love to hear what you do with these latest updates!

Neptune–18 Jan 2021

🔗 Share and save web links with “link dots”

You can now place links to web pages into your galaxy – and they’re available to everyone straight away. It’s like being able to share your bookmarks bar with each other!

This is great for keeping your own links handy, but it really shines when you’re sharing them with other people. Next time you’re running a meeting, and you want to make sure everyone has the agenda, or the Google Sheets spreadsheet handy, you can put all your links down before the meeting, wave everyone over, and everyone has got exactly what they need right in front of them!

🏃‍♀️Need to focus? Set your status to “Away”

Using the Control Center at the bottom of the galaxy window, you can set your status to Away. This means that you won’t be connected to the audio system even if someone comes near to you. They can see that you’re away, too.

Think of it as the equivalent of putting your headphones on in the office to signal that you’re busy.

✨ Show image links in chat and chat bubbles (GIFs work, too!)

When you post image links in chat, a preview shows up. That’s useful, but the best part is it works for GIFs.

Yay.

(And yes, we will be adding a GIF search very soon!)

🔐 Stop accidentally moving pins by locking them

It can be frustrating if you mis-click and accidentally drag a location pin into the wrong place. You can stop that now by locking your pins from the ••• menu in the sidebar next to each pin.

👨‍💻 Other improvements

  • We now show a more prominent notification when someone close to you is sharing their screen.
  • You can change your avatar directly from the Lobby screen, before you enter the galaxy without having to go to the Account page.
  • Galaxy owners can access the Management page from the galaxy. This makes it quicker and easier to invite new users.
  • Reduced the number of pins initially shown in the sidebar, so you can see the people in the galaxy more easily.
  • Creating a galaxy is quicker with a reduced number of steps.
  • Fixed an issue where double-clicking on certain parts of the UI would move your avatar around, when it shouldn’t have.
  • Pins and links are now created with the big, purple plus button in the bottom left corner. We have plans to add more, exciting things to this menu!

We hope these changes make your remote working life easier. As always, we love to get feedback from our users, so please get in touch and let us know what you love, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see us add in the future.

Uranus–6 Jan 2021

We’re bringing in the New Year with another big release, with lots of sweeping improvements!

🤩 Overhauled sidebar and galaxy interface

We have made it easier and quicker to get to the things you need:

  • Send a quick message with the chat box always available at the bottom of the sidebar
  • Quickly search for people and pins with the Search box, now always available at the top of the sidebar. You can also access this using the Ctrl-K keyboard shortcut.
  • Microphone control, “locate me”, emoji reactions and screen sharing are all available at the bottom of the galaxy. Everything you need to control yourself and navigate the galaxy is together for easier access.
 
There’s also quite a few little changes to spacing, typography and use of colour, which make things a little easier to find use.
 
 

💬 Link previews in chat

When you paste a website link into chat, we’ll give you a little preview of the link, making it easier to pick out from the rest of the chat. This is called ‘unfurling’, and we have some neat plans for improving unfurling in the future…

💅 Improved display of user avatars

We’ve made the avatars much bigger so you can see those profile pics in all their glory. If you don’t have a profile picture, we now give you a personalised avatar, rather than everyone showing up as a generic turquoise blob!

If someone is sharing their screen, we’ve also made the button to access it bigger and brighter.

📣 More help and support options

Use the help button in the top of the sidebar, and you have the option to report bugs, suggest features and get help with using Orbital. These requests go directly to the developers, so we can respond as quickly as humanly possible to your requests and feedback.

We love getting feedback, too, so please keep it coming!

From the help menu, you can also access our guide to onboarding your team to Orbital. We’re looking to expand this a lot in the coming weeks as we look to help everyone navigate the world of remote work.

🐞 Bug fixes

  • Fixed an issue where users would sometimes show as disconnected, despite being connected to audio. This happened if your Internet connection dropped and restored.
 

Saturn–18 Dec 2020

🎨 Decorate your pins

Ticking off one of our most requested features again, you can now attach a background image to the pins you create in your galaxy. We have given you a bunch of presets to choose from, or you can upload your own. We’ve got some really great plans for pins in the future, so we hope you enjoy where we take this.

Pin with background image of casual sitting area

💬 Improved chat with multi-line messages

Press Shift+Enter to get a new line, rather than sending the chat message. You can paste multi-line messages into the box and send those, too. Handy stuff.

☃️ There are rumours of a holiday mode

Have a look around and see if you can find the switch to turn on Christmas mode!

Jupiter–7 Dec 2020

🖥 Screen sharing!

We are proud to announce a completely new way to do screen sharing! You can view the screens of multiple people at the same time, and drag, drop and resize the sharing windows to exactly the layout that you want. We think this is pretty gosh darn exciting, and we’d love your feedback on this.

 

🙊 Join a galaxy with your mic muted

If your galaxy is busy, and your background is noisy, you can now choose to join your galaxy with your mic already muted. You can do this from the Lobby screen before you enter a galaxy.

 

🔊 See your own speech volume on your avatar

You could always see other people’s speaking volumes around their avatars, but not your own. Now you can see your own, but also the way the volume is displayed is much more accurate and responsive.

 

🚀 Performance enhancements

We’ve made lots of enhancements to the performance of your galaxy. You should notice it’s a bit snappier than before, especially in galaxies with lots of users.

 

😱 Update emoji reaction picker

We’ve made it easier to choose your set of reaction emojis, with a lot less clicks required, and a lot smoother experience.

 

📣 Please remember to get in touch with your feedback!

Almost all of the changes in the Jupiter release are as a direct result of user requests. A little nudge from you goes a long way to helping us choose what to tackle next, so please just drop a note in the help or feedback system in the galaxy.

Mars–26 Nov 2020

🎙 Push-to-talk
Save yourself a lot of clicking to mute and unmute when you’re in group conversations. You can now just hold the SPACE bar and your mic is temporarily unmuted; release the SPACE bar and you’re back on mute.

The title of your tab also reflects whether or not people can hear you. If it’s got a 🟣 then you are unmuted and people are within range of you. If you see a ⚪️ then nobody can hear you.

 

👋 Wave people over to your location

If you need to get hold of someone for a quick chat, you can wave them over to your location from the sidebar. The other person will receive a notification and can jump straight to your location.

Screenshot of the popup when a user is waved over

 

📍Improved location pins

You can now share a link directly to a pin! Use the menu next to the pin in the sidebar, and you can copy a link to that pin. Share that with someone, and when they enter your galaxy they’ll go straight to that pin. This is great for team meetings such as stand-ups or retrospectives.

Give your galaxy a splash of colour by setting the colour of a pin when you create it  🔴 🟠 🟡 🟢 🔵 🟣

We’ve added the ability to drag pins around the galaxy with the mouse

You can also edit the name and colour of your pins after you have created them from the sidebar menu

 

🪁 Drag your marker around

No more double-clicking to move your marker, as you can now use the mouse to move yourself around. You can still double-click, which is still useful for travelling large distances quickly!

 

🔊 Choose your audio setup before entering a galaxy

Make sure that money that you’ve spent on your fancy mic goes to good use! Before you enter a galaxy you can choose which microphone to use, and on Chrome, you can choose which audio output to use (this is a limitation of other browsers, sorry!).

 

🤣 🤯 💚 Customised emoji reactions

Emoji reactions have always been one of our users’ favourite features, but you’ve always been stuck with the nine emoji we chose…until now!

Use the menu at the bottom of the emoji reaction panel (it looks like this: •••) and you can choose whichever emoji you want. So if you have a few favourite emojis, you can set these for easy access! 👍

Earth–19 Nov 2020

🎙 Improved microphone controls and display

When you have nothing else selected (e.g. you’re not in the chat box) you can press M to toggle your mic between muted to unmuted. This is great for conversations between many people and you want to switch between muted and unmuted quickly, especially if you have a noisy background.

We’ve changed the microphone button to glow purple when the mic is enabled, and grey when you are muted. This is because we found that people preferred to know when their mic is on, rather than when it is off!

 

💄 Personalise your galaxy marker

You can now add your own avatar image which will show on your marker in the galaxy. Do this from the Account page, and next time you enter a galaxy, everyone will see your avatar on your marker.

You can also change your name from the Account page, which will also show up when you enter a galaxy.

Venus–17 Nov 2020

The Chat and Who’s here panels are now in a sidebar. This means you have much easier access to them.

If you have a profile image attached to your account, it will show up in your galaxy on your marker.

Mercury–5 Nov 2020

It’s our first release! In this release:

Sign up and create your trial galaxy, inviting up to 20 people to collaborate with.

Move your marker around your galaxy to chat with your colleagues

Send chat messages and emoji reactions.

Add pins to make distinct areas in your galaxy