Microsoft has announced the rollout of Groups for Office 365 with collaboration features starting with the Outlook Web App email and calendar sites. Also on the anvil are Yammer and Lync, though Microsoft is silent about the possible rollout date for these two.
Of particular interest for customers are the dedicated inboxes, shared calendars and a centre for files, and the means to mark a comment.
In a blog post, Jared Spataro wrote, “In this initial phase, Groups will show up within the web experiences of Office 365 email and calendar and OneDrive for Business. In upcoming phases, we will add Yammer and Lync to the Groups experience to help you do even more.”
The salient feature of the announced rollout is the ability to create a new group and the ability to invite others into it. It gives the flexibility to make a search of an existing group and join a discussion.
By default a created-group is accessible to anyone on the net, but the person making the initiative can make it private, meaning that a user needs permission to join it. This is feature users will find helpful if the content is sensitive.
It appears that all features may not be available to all users and the whole process will be accomplished in stages. To begin with commercial subscribers will be the first to get Office 365 and others in subsequent phases. Interestingly Microsoft is silent when everyone will get access to it.