Microsoft's Clutter email tool goes live for OWA in Office 365

Microsoft has started rolling out its take on the smarter inbox to Office 365 users.

Microsoft has started rolling out Clutter, a feature of Office 365 that uses machine learning to surface important email and sweep away the noise across desktop and mobile clients.

The software giant has been putting the finishing touches to Clutter since it announced the productivity feature for Outlook Web App business users this March, along with a new Outlook Web App for Android app.

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Similar to Google's recently-released self-teaching Inbox , with Clutter Microsoft is hoping to evolve email into something intelligent that can learn from users' habits and preferences. Through Office Graph, a machine learning concept Microsoft borrowed from Yammer's social Enterprise Graph, OWA learns preferences based on documents read and shared by the user, as well as their Yammer social connections.

Clutter comes disabled by default but once it's activated, less important messages should automatically be shuffled into the Clutter box. This does the legwork for less fastidious email users who haven't set up rules to keep their inboxes tidy. Microsoft says enabling Clutter won't tamper with existing rules for those who have invested time in creating them, and users can also switch off Clutter if it doesn't suit them.

Since it's designed to learn, users can train Clutter by moving messages that automatically land in the folder back to the inbox, or by dragging messages into the Clutter folder.

Microsoft warns that some users may notice no changes in their email inbox at first: that's because Clutter is still searching for strong predictions, which users can give by interacting with the Clutter folder. "You can expedite Clutter's learning by moving messages into the Clutter folder to help train it. The more you move, the faster it will learn," the company notes on the Office Blog.

Also, Clutter introduces a new way of deleting messages and is dependent on rules that are applied to OWA folders. "The default policy for a new folder is applied to the Clutter folder at time of creation, and can later be changed. Users in OWA are provided Clutter-specific quick clean-up tools to expedite the deletion of the Clutter messages," Microsoft said.

The feature is rolling out initially to English language users that have opted into its First Release, followed by standard deployments later this month. Microsoft hasn't said when other languages will see the update but it is working on localisation.

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