Microsoft Outlook on web gets smarter: AI features save time setting up meetings

Microsoft aims to cut the hassle of arranging meetings for Office 365 users with AI email and calendar suggestions.

Microsoft Outlook’s AI features: Big help or Big Brother? Microsoft aims to cut the hassle of arranging meetings for Office 365 users with AI email and calendar suggestions. Read more: https://zd.net/2FZDSC1

Microsoft is rolling out new updates to Outlook on the web to give Office 365 users meeting insights, suggested replies with a meeting, smart time suggestions, and suggested locations. 

The new features are aimed at saving time and boosting productivity for Outlook users at work and should be rolling out over the next few weeks, according to Microsoft Outlook product manager Gabriel Valdez Malpartida. 

The Meeting Insights feature in Outlook taps Microsoft Graph to recommend information that Microsoft's machines think will be useful for a worker's next meeting, as well as help sort and find information about past meetings, such as files shared via email or stored in SharePoint and OneDrive. 

The feature should also surface relevant emails on a specific meeting topic, content shared during a meeting, meeting notes, and content shared after a meeting. 

"Meeting Insights are personalized for each person who receives them, so not everyone in the meeting will necessarily see the same suggested content. Meeting Insights will only show you content to which you have access," Microsoft notes.

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Microsoft's take on suggested replies is gaining a third suggested response at the bottom of an email dedicated to scheduling a meeting. The "schedule a meeting" button can be clicked to bring up a form designed to quickly create a meeting request from the message. 

Outlook on the web will also now suggest days and times to arrange meetings based on when attendees are free to meet. This should help workers who still to-and-fro over email to arrange a meeting, or those who use Microsoft's FindTime feature to let participants vote on the best time.   

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Outlook also gains a suggested-locations feature that offers tailored suggestions for where to meet, regardless if it's a conference room at work or a public place. 

The company details the changes to Outlook on the web in a new support page, which includes instructions for turning off suggested replies and switching to classic Outlook on the web.   

meeting20insights20screenshot1.png

Open the meeting event in calendar and scroll down to see Meeting Insights.

Image: Microsoft

The new features follow Microsoft's big design and feature update to Outlook on the web last September, which introduced predictive search, suggested replies, faster event creation in the calendar, and suggested conference rooms. 

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