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Microsoft Office 365 gets sociable with 'Office Graph' feature

Scrambles for ways to make its software products different
Tue Mar 04 2014, 13:27
Microsoft Office 365 staircase

SOFTWARE RENTIER Microsoft has outlined upcoming changes for its cloud based productivity suite Microsoft Office 365.

The changes are based around a new Office Graph concept that is designed to give the user contextually relevant information based on their work, what the Microsoft Office 365 blog describes as "the power of social, cloud, big data, and machine learning coming together".

As Microsoft continues to attempt to distance its products from those of its open source rivals, it is introducing features that it hopes will justify its paid subscription software business model.

The first application to come out of Office Graph is codenamed Project Oslo. Microsoft said, "The Oslo application surfaces what might be most relevant for each individual based on what they're already doing in Exchange, Outlook, Sharepoint, Office, Lync, and Yammer. We believe this is the start of something game-changing - building digital memory across applications to create a highly personalized experience that helps people get more done."

The company is keen to claim that, despite all this Big Data floating about, there is no risk to users' data security. It said, "With the Microsoft Cloud and Office 365, you own and control your data. We don't see or use your data for anything other than delivering the service to you."

As part of the realtime collaboration aspect, Microsoft Office 365 will include Groups based on the same feature in private micro-blogging service Yammer. This allows multiple users to work on a project together and chat both in real time and by leaving notes for others.

Microsoft said, "Groups will unify people, email, conversations, calendars and files together across Office 365 services in a common construct to ensure that people can collaborate similarly in the experience they love most."

Microsoft Office is two years away from celebrating its first quarter century and has evolved almost beyond recognition, but it is facing fierce competition. The UK government recently announced that it will move to open source alternatives in the future, a move that Microsoft has criticised, of course. µ


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