Microsoft today announced it is rolling out the first phase of Groups for Office 365, a new collaboration feature, starting with the Outlook Web App email and calendar sites as well as OneDrive for Business. Next up, the company says it will add Yammer and Lync to the “Groups experience” though it didn’t specify when.
As you can see in the video below, Microsoft is trying to solve the problem of how best to share information while working across multiple ad hoc groups and project teams. The idea behind Groups is to make Office 365 the hub for connecting with colleagues via the applications already in use.
Anyone can create a new group and invite colleagues. They can also search for and join existing groups, which are open by default, to see all discussions, milestones and files that have been shared. Private groups are also available for sensitive projects and content.
Groups is not only rolling out in stages for different platforms, but for users as well. The company says customers that have opted-in to receive significant Office 365 service updates at first release are getting the feature now.
All Office 365 customers will get it “over several months in standard release,” the default option for Office 365 customers. Again, Microsoft wouldn’t give much detail on timing, but it did say it expects Groups to roll out “to all eligible Office 365 customers by the end of this year.”
Customers that have an Exchange Online or Office 365 commercial subscription can expect to receive Groups. Eligible Office 365 subscription plans include Enterprise E1–E4, Academic A2–A4, Government G1–G4, Business Essentials, Business Premium, Small Business, Small Business Premium, Midsize Business and Kiosk.
See also – Microsoft launches Online Services Bug Bounty Program, includes Office 365 with rewards starting at $500 and Microsoft rolls out Office Delve, a personalized search interface for Office 365
Image credit: Robert Scoble