A new Microsoft app, code-named “Oslo,” will give Office 365 business users a personalized, searchable dashboard that uses machine learning to present the most relevant information from their documents, messages, internal social networks and other “trending” information.
Microsoft says the idea is to move beyond the syndrome of prioritizing whatever happens to be at the top of the email inbox, letting the system help figure out what’s most important.
“It’s frankly the only way we’re going to survive in this world, with all this stuff coming at us,” said Julia White, a general manager for Microsoft Office, demonstrating Oslo last week.
Powered by a technology that Microsoft calls the Office Graph, it’s part of a broader effort by the company to apply the principles of social networking to business communications and documents — attempting to differentiate itself from a strong field of rivals, most notably Google.
In another example, the company is extending Yammer’s “Groups” feature across Office 365, aiming to make it easier for teams to collaborate on specific projects. Microsoft acquired the business-oriented social network Yammer for $1.2 billion in 2012, and has been gradually extending Yammer’s capabilities to other parts of its Office business.
Other new features being shown by the company include a new Office 365 Video Portal for uploading, storing and collaborating on videos inside a company.
Microsoft is previewing the new technologies this morning at its SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. Office 365 is the company’s subscription-based productivity suite and cloud-based service. The features being shown by the company today are designed for Office 365 business users, not consumers.
The company will be recruiting companies at the conference to test “Oslo,” which will be introduced eventually under a different product name, tentatively slated for rollout sometime this year. It will be available as a native Windows application, as well as a browser-based app.
The SharePoint Conference keynote starts shortly, available for streaming here.
Previously on GeekWire: Microsoft Office exec hints at new generation of apps