At Microsoft’s annual Build Developer Conference, Microsoft talked about some upcoming updates for Outlook, the popular email solution. Two new features will be available soon: Organization Explorer and Message Extensions in Outlook for the web.
Organization Explorer is a new embedded app for Outlook that will be available this summer. The aim is to help you find people or teams with skills similar to your own so that you can work together.
According to Microsoft, this app comes at a time when businesses have become more dispersed, which makes this task a challenge. The app allows you to visually search your company to explore colleagues and teams and identify skills that will help you complete your work.
The new “Organization Explorer” option is available to Office Insiders in the beta channel with version 14101 or higher. Not everyone will see it right away, however, as Microsoft plans to slowly release it to a larger number of insiders over time. The feature will be available to non-insiders once the beta test is complete.
Message extensions in Outlook for the web are more of a feature for developers to simplify the email process. With support for message extensions in Outlook.com, developers should see a unified experience for both Teams and Outlook on the web.
For you, this means that when you compose a message you will see a new menu of search-based extensions to choose from. You might be able to compose an email, then use a message extension that pulls tasks from your team apps, and then send that to your teammates.
One final change that you probably won’t notice right away in Outlook is a developer-centric change that relates to Teams. Microsoft announced that developers can now create an “Adaptive Card” and use it in Teams and Outlook with a universal model of action. This means developers can share UI data so their experiences are more consistent across both Teams and Outlook.
This is a change from the past when developers had to create two separate Adaptive Card integrations for Outlook and Teams. Basically, Outlook and team apps should be more precise and coordinated with one another.
Build 2021 is still underway and is expected to include additional announcements about Teams, Windows 10, and the rest of Microsoft 365. Check out our dedicated build page for the latest information on the virtual developer event.