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Microsoft Research looking to make Outlook more social

Social views of email

Social media is no doubt redesigning the way we do business. The people at Microsoft Research are designing a new Outlook add-in that will literally redesign the look of your email user interface. Yesterday I received a tweet ( see what I mean about social media)about and interesting new project called "Social Views of Email". Now I am sure this is not the "code" or "official" name...as least I hope not, that would not be catchy at all...the project is currently in the proof of concept stage. The basic idea is for the add-in to dynamically group emails based upon your natural social patterns. The user does not need to define these groups; rather the add-in would suggest these groups by noticing patterns of usage. Not just the normal To: From: patterns either, this add-in would look at cc'ing, response time, frequency of communication and such.

According to Microsoft Research once these groups are selected the add-in would change the email client design by:

  • De-prioritizing unimportant people and messages, featuring important items
  • Improving lightweight reading-skimming user experience
  • Automatically categorizing messages
  • Featuring "important" groups and summarizing activity
  • Encourage sharing beyond email, and integrating this content in the view
  • Providing personalized summarizes for email usage: time spent and conversation overviews

This concept is similar to Xobni, but it seems to have more of a business focus(at least fromt he little I've read thus far). So while the debate continues over the need to fix Outlook's HTML rendering and adopt web standards in Outlook 2010 (fix Outlook 2010)...at least this is a step in the right direction.

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