Unless you’re a tin hat that’s unplugged from the Internet (in that case you’re not reading this anyway), you’re familiar with how social media networks use ‘Likes’ and at-sign (@) mentions for bringing people together. These are popular ways for to get people to interact with each other. The popularity of these concepts hasn’t gone unnoticed by Microsoft.
According to a blog post today, Microsoft is bringing similar social functions to Outlook on the web, but take it a step further.
Coming to your email inbox, you’ll be able to Like an email, or a single message in a thread of emails. When you choose to “Like” something, the owner of the email will be notified you found it valuable. And, in reverse, you’ll be notified when someone “Likes” your emails. Additionally, you’ll be able filter your inbox based on the emails you liked.
A second feature, called Mentions, takes the at-sign concept and embeds it into your emails. When you type the @ symbol, applicable contacts will be presented, allowing you to more quickly select people who should be included on the thread. The selected contact will be automatically added to the To: line of the email. Additionally, you can sort your inbox based on Mentions so you can locate thread in which you were mentioned.
The Like feature is rolling out today to Office 365 First Release customers and is planned for wider distribution in October. The Mention feature will be available to all in mid-November, but hitting the First Release customers first in mid-October.