MICROSOFT IS BEING all co-operative again. The formerly siloed tech giant has been much more receptive in recent years and this time, it's Google that's about to get on its good side.
According to reports, Microsoft is about to roll out full Gmail integration for its Outlook web client, with select users already able to test the new features.
The integration works by tethering a Google account to an Outlook account. Once that's done, all your mail, calendar entries, heck, even your Google Docs will start to appear.
Entries are kept separate in matching inboxes/calendars, so it's easy to tell what came from where. Google Drive documents can't be managed from within Outlook, but once access is granted, you'll be able to select and attach individual files to your mail - regardless of whether you're using your Outlook or Gmail account.
The question is when this feature goes fully live, will it be free or limited to those who pay for an additional Office 365 subscription. Alternatively, it could be limited to ‘Pro' users only. Or it could be free, an act of benevolence on the part of Redmond. We will have to wait and see.
Microsoft has acknowledged that there are, indeed, some people testing some new features for Outlook, but so far, it isn't sharing any details about when we'll see them roll out, nor who is getting them.
The move is yet another example of Microsoft's transformation as it learns that it's no longer the only game in town. With rivals like GSuite already making it fairly easy to integrate Outlook, then the only way for Microsoft to get you using its service is if it can offer the same functionality.
The desktop/web interface also makes a great introduction to the "Outlook way" of doing things, which could lure them towards the Outlook apps for iOS and Android. μ
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