Microsoft unveils new features coming to Outlook and other Microsoft 365 services

Microsoft is kicking off Ignite 2020, and as usual, there’s a big news drop to start things off. Included is a whole bunch of new things that are coming to Microsoft 365. There are a ton of Teams features, but other Microsoft 365 services are getting updates as well.

Outlook is getting some improvements, as you’d probably expect. Bookings is getting a new UI, along with new features for customization. On iOS and Android, Outlook is getting Play My Emails in more regions, voice commands for composing an email, reactions for emails, and QR connect to authenticate your Azure AD account. The new Outlook for Mac, using Microsoft Sync, is going to be available next month, but you’ll have to turn it on with a toggle.

Next up is Microsoft Search, which is getting new features later this year. Search is getting integrated into Teams, and it’s also coming to Windows search. New Microsoft Graph connectors are generally available, and Admin Feedback will allow employees to submit feedback to their administrator to help improve Search.

In the SharePoint and Yammer department, there’s a new Share To feature, which lets you share news to either service, along with Teams, with one click. There’s also a new All Company feed in Yammer, letting you share news to everyone at once, and in SharePoint, there’s a Boost feature to prioritize announcements in employees’ feeds. There are also new Insights to help understand reach and engagement, and there are new built-in templates. People are going to be able to upvote answers to questions in Yammer as well.

Next up, Project Cortex is starting to mature as SharePoint Syntex. It allows you to teach AI to extract data from documents, and then it can apply metadata to that data.

Microsoft is also rebuilding Microsoft Stream. The idea is to do for videos what Office has done for documents, and it should be just as easy to find a create, share, and find videos in your organization. The new Microsoft Stream will arrive in Q4 of this year.

In Excel, users can connect to Power BI datasets, so they can use tools that are familiar to them. For example, you can use PivotTables or something along those lines.

Microsoft also announced some new features for IT professionals. Microsoft Tunnel is a remote access solution with Endpoint Manager and lets your smartphone connect to on-prem resources. Also, Endpoint Manager now supports managing virtual endpoints like Windows Virtual Desktop.

Most of the features announced are coming later this year.

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Microsoft says new App Store game streaming rules will offer bad customer experience

Earlier in the day, Apple released an update to its App Store guidelines, including some changes in its regulations regarding game streaming. Previously, the App Store did not allow game streaming services like Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud, and Nvidia GeForce Now because Apple claimed that it cannot review each game being made available via the service.

With the recent changes in the guidelines, game streaming services are now allowed… as long as publishers submit each game for Apple’s approval separately. Microsoft has now cited concerns with Apple’s strategy, and hasn’t taken kindly to the Cupertino tech giant’s “olive branch”.

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft explained that:

This remains a bad experience for customers. Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We’re committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission.

Microsoft’s concerns do appear to be valid since the core experience of game streaming involves ideally having all games in one place and being able to switch from one title to the other without breaking immersion too much. While Apple does allow publishers a “catalog” app to list all their games in one place, accessing them would still require interaction with their respective App Store listings, an experience Microsoft obviously does not prefer.

Another caveat in Apple’s guidelines is that developers will have to allow users to sign up for the service in the app, meaning that Apple gets a 30% cut, and they’ll have to support the “Sign in with Apple”. This is already something Epic Games is battling against the Cupertino firm in courts, and while Microsoft hasn’t publicly cited concerns against the pricing model in this case, it would definitely strengthen Epic Games’ case if the Redmond giant decides to take this to court as well.

Source: The Verge office setup