The like and @mention have quickly become integrated into the internet and culture at large, and now Microsoft is adding those social features to email. Outlook users will soon be able to add @mentions to emails they send and recipients will be able to like an email that they receive.
Mentions help draw attention to certain parts within an email. So if you’re sending a group email to your team, you can call out certain team members in parts of the email, or even add people to the email chain with just a mention.
For example, if you want the marketing guy on your team to send you a draft, but you want the product team to know he’s sending it, you can send the message to the group but @mention the marketing guy so his attention is drawn right to your request.
Users can add a mention by just putting in an @ sign. A list of frequent contacts pops up and whoever you choose is automatically added to the To: field. On the other end, recipients can quickly see emails they’re mentioned in so they can find the most important messages they’ve received.
Likes are a little more simplified, but may have a little less utility. Users can now like a message to show support for an idea without responding with a simple “OK” or another short email. That means inboxes may stay a little less cluttered.
Outlook is trying to combat the idea that email is dying, an idea that accelerated with the rise of work chat apps like Campfire and Slack. Slack in particular has recently added an emoji-based reaction feature that lets teams respond to a post without typing anything.
The Like feature is rolling out today on Outlook’s web platform, with broader rollout finishing by December. The mention feature will also rollout in December to all users.