In case you haven’t noticed, over the past few months Microsoft has been rolling out two new features in Outlook on the Web (both Office 365 and Outlook.com): Likes and @Mentions.
Nowadays, most people are used to “liking” a friend’s post or status update on Facebook, as well as “@mentioning” others in a Twitter post. Can these two social concepts be used in email? Microsoft seems to think so and, as such, we can now use these same concepts in Outlook on the Web.
Out of both features, this is the one I am not so sure about… The new Like feature in Outlook on the Web provides a way to visibly endorse a specific email and call it out as something worth attention. To Like a message, we simply click the thumbs-up icon in the reading pane (or in the email window itself if not using the reading pane):
This turns the icon from gray to blue:
The original sender of the email will get a notification informing her that someone liked her email:
Anyone on the thread can Like a message, and their Likes are identified and captured within the message as well:
By clicking on 1 person, we can see who liked this particular email:
To me this is a much more useful feature. During email conversations, it is common to call out a specific person for an action or request, or adding someone to an existing thread for their attention. Using the Mentions feature ensures that the person is not only aware of the request but is also included in the thread.
To use Mentions, we simply add the @ symbol in the body of an email. This will bring up our frequent contacts as well as access to your directory:
We select the person we want to highlight, and they will automatically be added to the To: line if they were not already included. In addition, their name will be highlighted in the message in blue:
Users that have been highlighted will receive an @ flag in their inbox view next to the message and can even sort by their @ messages:
Microsoft expects to roll out the Mention feature to the Office 2016 clients for Windows and Mac, as well as Outlook for iOS and Android, in the first half of 2016. There is no information at this stage regarding when the Like feature will be available.
Plans to make this available for Exchange on-premises clients? I honestly hope so but, once again, there is no information available on this as yet…