Microsoft Garage Releases Email Insights Search App for Outlook and Gmail Accounts

 

Email Insights is a new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app for Windows 10 PCs released by Microsoft Garage that is intended to help with email searches.

Microsoft Garage is much like a tech incubator - it is a place for Microsoft to explore new technologies and refine current ones. By testing these new techniques on a small scale, the company learns how to possibly improve a feature in existing software or introduce an entirely new concept.

Email Insights is one of those projects that is looking to improve the process of searching for specific content in a digital mountain of emails. By releasing this as a separate app, the team can experiment with various data search technologies without impacting released software. If the work does improve search capabilities then it could then be moved over into the actual software and be fully incorporated.

It is never bad to have a proving ground where these new ideas can be tried out and evaluated and ultimately is an important part of any companies efforts to push the envelope in these areas.

Since this is a Microsoft Garage project you should not expect it to have every bell and whistle of a fully released product and Email Insights shows those limitations very quickly.

The app is available in the Windows Store and can only be installed on a Windows 10 PC and it only access email accounts that are setup in the Outlook desktop client or through Gmail.

I started using the app in the last hour and it is still indexing my Outlook 2016 based accounts but it does appear to understand storage folders in that client and is slowly indexing content in them for search as well.

There are no settings in the app, so it validates access to your email accounts through the Outlook desktop client and uses that account information to authenticate and retrieve the data for indexing.

Now, as I list all of these limitations, I want to refer you to the fact I mentioned earlier. This app is not meant to be a full blown search client but is meant to collect information on improving relevancy, recency, and fuzzy search results and it is not a replacement for search inside of Outlook itself.

Understanding those limitations, you can download the app and give it a try. Your interaction and use will help Microsoft evaluate thew new processes they are trying out and hopefully result in a better tool for everyone down the road.

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