Since the 2014 launch of Office 365 Groups, Microsoft has been adding new functionality to the Yammer-inspired collaboration and content-sharing feature. The latest example is an update to SharePoint online that enables users to create team sites when they gather a new Office 365 Group, and vice versa.
"The integration of groups and SharePoint team sites means that any time a new team site is created, a new group membership will be created as well. You can easily see the members of the site, if the site is listed as public or private within your organization and how it has been classified," Mark Kashman, a senior product manager at Microsoft SharePoint, wrote in a blog post.
As the update's rollout proceeds this month, existing groups will receive their own SharePoint team sites. After the update, newly created groups get SharePoint team sites by default.
Team sites now sport a redesigned home page that surfaces recent activity, added Kashman. Navigation has been tweaked to offer quick access to apps, calendars, Outlook conversations, lists, libraries and pages.
A Quick Links feature allows users to add files, pages and apps from within a team site or the web. Once added, Quick Links appear at the top of the page.
Acknowledging that its Office 365 Video service and a wealth of other sources can put a strain on SharePoint Online's site collection storage limit, Kashman said customers can soon expect a major change on that front. Microsoft is raising the limit to 25 terabytes from 1TB, enabling bigger, more content-rich team sites.
A new Web Parts selector allows users to quickly populate their mobile-friendly team site publishing pages with images, documents, Office 365 Videos, galleries, events and other information. A configurable "Highlighted Content" web part automatically and dynamically populates a selected area of a page with content that meets a user's criteria.
The new features follow this summer's revamp of SharePoint Lists, a tool that is used to organize, display and collaborate on structured data using SharePoint sites.
Users can now add columns, group data and make other alterations in place. They also can view and edit item details without leaving a list and use the Quick Edit function to make changes to several items at once. In addition, Microsoft added the ability to append people, images and metadata tags to static information contained in lists.
In May, Microsoft officially released SharePoint Server 2016. Inspired by SharePoint Online, the product shares the same code base as its cloud-based counterpart, according to the company. The tactic will enable customers of the on-premises software offering to benefit from the rapid-fire update cadence Microsoft has adopted for its cloud products, even if it takes some time for those updates to reach them.
"Microsoft will understandably innovate in the cloud first because that's where they can release and test functionality quickly. Instead of feeling cheated by that, on-premises customers should rejoice in the fact that by the time features come down to them, they have been baking for some time in a live production Office 365 environment," John Peluso, senior vice president of product strategy at AvePoint, told eWEEK at the time.