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 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

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?