Business users get live chat in Office Online

Microsoft takes another swing at Google's productivity suite with the new feature

Microsoft's attempts to catch up with Google in the online collaboration space took a step forward Wednesday, when the company announced that it's giving business users live chat in Office Online. 

The new feature will allow users to discuss documents stored in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business using chat sessions powered by Skype for Business.

When more than one person is working on a shared document inside Word, Excel, OneNote or PowerPoint Online, they'll see a chat button show up in the Web app's toolbar. When clicked, it'll open a chat sidebar so everyone with the document open can discuss it. 

It's an enterprise-grade improvement to the Skype chat Microsoft already offers for consumers using Office Online, as part of the company's push to better compete with other productivity suites that feature real-time collaboration. Skype for Business chats compliment other functionality in Office Online, like support for real-time co-authoring of documents shared between users.

The chats aren't designed to replace traditional document collaboration tools like leaving comments and tracking changes, but they can help a team of people all looking at the same document to better work together in a more rapid-fire way. 

It's a feature that has been core to Google's Docs productivity suite for quite some time, and this update means that businesses using Office 365 have another reason to consider sticking with Microsoft rather than switching to one of its competitors. 

Microsoft has recently rolled out a number of other updates to Office, including new watch face support in Outlook on Android Wear and the launch of SharePoint for iOS, which the company announced earlier this month

In addition, Microsoft is offering discounts for consumers who want to buy either Office 365 Home or its subscription-free Office Home and Student 2016 software. 

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Office 365Microsoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?