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Microsoft extends social networking within Office apps and services

04 Mar 2014
Microsoft Office Graph Oslo app

Microsoft has unveiled three new "social experiences" in its Office tools, aimed at helping companies to collaborate better, or in the words of the firm itself, to "work like a network".

Microsoft's new social network features include the Office Graph, which maps the relationships between people and the information that drives the business. It also offers group support in Office 365, and Yammer conversations in Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, and other apps and services.

Writing on Microsoft's Office blog Jared Spataro, general manager of Enterprise Social, said that the firm was adding new technologies to enable companies to work more like a social network.

"We're excited to introduce an integrated set of social, collaboration and communication technologies that enable companies to work like a network, using the concepts that have changed our personal lives to transform the way we work. By tapping into the human networks that make a business tick, companies can listen to the conversations that matter most, adapt to an increasingly volatile market, and grow in ways never before possible," he said.

The Office Graph is an extension of Yammer's concept of the Enterprise Graph across Office 365. It uses data from email, social conversations, documents, sites, instant messages, meetings and more, to map the relationships between the people and things that make your business go, the firm said.

Part of Office Graph is a new app codenamed Oslo (pictured above), which provides a natural way for users to navigate, discover and search people and information across an organisation, according to Spataro.

The second new feature is the ability to create a group in Office 365 to unify people, profiles, conversations, email, calendars and files for a particular workgroup. Creating a group anywhere in Office 365 will automatically provision a corresponding inbox, social feed, calendar and document library that group members can use to get the job done, Microsoft said.

Finally, Microsoft is looking to create "inline social experiences" across its applications and services such as Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics. This will initially consist of Yammer conversations added to documents in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, but the firm said it is also making it easy to post updates, documents and emails to Yammer from SharePoint Online and Outlook.

"In the future, we'll integrate Yammer with Lync and Skype to enable a full spectrum of social interactions, from asynchronous posts to audio and video. We're committed to helping you put your networks to work naturally – with integrated experiences that put people and information at your fingertips, anywhere and on any device," said Spataro.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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