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Outlook on the Web Enhances Contact Pane & Cards, Smart Lists

Several new features in Outlook on the web for Office 365 business customers have been announced today, for better understanding the people they are communicating with.

The company says that these new features are currently rolling out to Office 365 First release customers.

In the coming weeks, they will start rolling out worldwide to all Office 365 commercial subscriptions that include Outlook on the web including Business, Enterprise and EDU plans.

Eventually, all these new features will make their way to other Office 365 products as well including Outlook on the desktop.

Powered by the Microsoft Graph, these changes allow you to quickly create more personalized and impactful communications.

The most relevant information at a glance is now few clicks away with the company reduced the number of required clicks.

When in Mail or Calendar, you can simply hover your mouse over an individual’s name to bring up their Contact Card. Each contact card will show you person’s job title, who they report to, as well as a recent email.

new Contact Cards in Outlook on the web

Contact Card allows you to quickly email, IM, call or create a calendar appointment, shortcuts to these are shown as well.

Additionally, new Contact pane which open up each time you click a name—be it in the Mail, Calendar or People view—the Contact pane slides into view.

You’ll now see key information such as their team, title and office number, their reporting structure, option to click through to their full organization chart, who they commonly work with as well as the Office 365 Groups they belong to.

Additonally, information provided include when preparing a next meeting, email reply. The Contact pane allows you to fully understand where a person is within your organization, the projects and people they work with, as well as the specific emails and files you have exchanged with one another.

And because the Contact pane slides out in your existing Outlook window, you are able to maintain the flow of your work without managing pop-ups and tabs.

Contact pane unlocks people intelligence through the Microsoft Graph in Outlook on the Web

The search box in the Mail, Calendar and People modules can now provide you most relevant results based on your communications, collaborations and business relationship.

In addition, “fuzzy name” matching is extended to Outlook search to catch common variations in how names are spelled.

Within the main People section a new “Featured People” section is added that contains dynamic smart lists that allow finding people by interaction mode such as (email, shared meetings).

Additionally, you can choose to “pin” a favorite smart list, so it opens by default when you switch to the People view. In additon, you can also choose traditional Contacts list as your default instead.

Since the lists are dynamic, people in the list change as your interactions evolve over time. The smart lists include:

  • “Frequently contacted list analyzes the strongest signals coming across all of Outlook to understand who you work with the most. It takes into account your communication, collaboration and business relationships.
  • On your calendar is a list of the people found in your upcoming calendar appointments that day, which is extremely helpful when preparing for meetings. You can click through to the specific meeting to see who is attending, as well as drill down on any individual ia the Contact pane.
  • For follow-up—List of the people who recently sent you email that might require your action. It is a good way to get an overview of who is writing you, what they are writing about and whether you have multiple follow-up items from the same person.
  • Favorites—The Favorites list is one you manage yourself. Similar to Skype favorites, you can add or remove people on your Favorites list for quick and easy access to the latest communication you’ve had with them—for people both inside and outside your organization.”

Smart lists provide quick access to people in Outlook on the web

In addition, the Contacts lists now show you the most relevant information at a glance such as person’s name, email address, job title and office number.

Clicking a name will bring up the Contact pane for more detailed information.

These changes apply to your personal contacts, as well as people in your company directory.

In other Outllook news, Microsoft issued an statement on the Outllook.com rollout stating (via)

“The error message incorrectly stated the date as the first half of 2017; we’re updating this message to reflect the latest migration schedule. We are in the final stages of the Outlook.com migration, with nearly 90% of our active users already migrated. A small percentage of our active users will take additional time to migrate based on certain features they are using like shared calendars.”

Aside, following an outrage on social media, with users calling for a boycott of all Microsoft products, after Bing Translator service translated “Daesh”, a pejorative name in Arabic for Islamic State, to “Saudi Arabia” in English.

The company quickly apologized with Saudi Arabia, VP, Dr Mamdouh Najjar said, “As an employee of [Microsoft], I apologise personally to the great Saudi people and this country, dear to all our hearts, for this unintentional mistake.”

Explaining the issue, Najjar said, that the error was most likely due to Bing’s use of crowdsourced translations. “If suggestions are received from about 1,000 people, the service can promote translations to the top spot, which means that without manual correction it is possible to manipulate the system and substitute the correct translation for an alternative,” Najjar explained.

Najjar said the error had been corrected within hours of it being informed, and that new safeguards are put in place to avoid such mistakes happening again in the future.

MSN China has brought by Xichuang Technology, a company co-founded late last year by MSN China’s former general manager.

According to report, “Microsoft announced the agreement to sell MSN China on the company’s official blog on Aug. 29, though the actual transaction was effective on Aug. 10.”

The report added further no financial terms were disclosed, “though Microsoft said the two sides will continue to work closely together.”

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