Microsoft is very keen that Office 365 tenants should move away from email distribution groups to embrace the world of Office 365 Groups. There is lots to like about Groups, but I have some doubts about the way Microsoft is cajoling people to move.
Microsoft is obviously putting a lot of effort into improving the functionality available in the OWA and Outlook clients, but only for Office 365 users. It’s now got to the point where on-premises customers must be wondering where their next update will arrive. The answer may be “Never”.
Microsoft is convinced that Office 365 tenants should move from old-fashioned email distribution lists to embrace the new world of collaboration enabled by Office 365 Groups. A new conversation method allows OWA users to convert DLs that they own. Is it a winner?
Exchange Online now boasts an “archive folder”, helpfully furnished to allow users to keep items they need to retain. Unless they have an archive mailbox. Or use Outlook auto-archive. It’s just a tad confusing.
Microsoft has moved 400 million Outlook.com mailboxes to an Office 365 infrastructure. Outlook.com mailboxes are now powered by Exchange Online and exploit other parts of the infrastructure like EOP. It’s a good change from a engineering and economic perspective.
Beginning in March 2017, SharePoint site owners will no longer be able to create new site mailboxes. Existing site mailboxes will function until they are replaced by something else.
Microsoft has long used OWA as the test-bed client for new features. After all, it’s easy to update a web client. Now they’ve added the ability to integrate content stored in Office 365 Groups in OWA searches. It’s a nice feature, as is the message digest for Office 365 updates that you can have sent to your mailbox.
On January 20, Microsoft unexpectedly updated their original blog post from July announcing the Focused Inbox with information about client updates to support the feature. The update contains some answers to questions why people have not been able to use the much-trumpeted feature.
Microsoft has finally provided an effective method to allow users to recall messages. Outlook’s Recall Message function usually doesn’t work, but OWA’s new Undo Send will stop messages that should never be sent. Five seconds might be too short to realize that you have made a mistake and should stop an outbound message, but ten seconds is about right. And if you are really indecisive, you can take up to 30 seconds to decide whether a message should go.
Microsoft is improving the way that people share calendars in Office 365 to make it easier and more straightforward. That’s nice, especially as the new mechanism extends to Outlook.com as well. However, no joy for on-premises servers…
It’s reasonably common for an HTTP 400 error to occur when accessing an Office 365 page. The Office 365 Admin Center seems to be particularly susceptible to the problem. What can you do when an Office 365 page barfs?
Microsoft set out to rename OWA as Outlook on the web last year. That effort never gained real acceptance in the Exchange community, but in fact the project isn’t to rebrand OWA. Instead, it’s all about preserving and building out the Outlook brand across multiple clients and different experiences. Microsoft is struggling against the weight of history here, so don’t expect any great success anytime soon.
Microsoft is introducing safety tips to Office 365 to highlight bad or suspicious email that might tempt users to do things that they shouldn’t. The initiative is good and valuable, but it rather loses some of its gloss because not all safety tips are exposed in Outlook. However, Microsoft is making sure that mobile and other clients see safety tips, even if not in the same interactive manner as is possible with OWA.