Microsoft Improves GigJam's Out-of-Office Technology

Microsoft updated GigJam so that users can now set a 24-hour expiration deadline when they collaborate with offline colleagues.

Microsoft GigJam, Office 365

Microsoft has released an update for GigJam that helps offline colleagues get caught up on shared tasks when they return to their PCs or sneak a quick peek of their iPhones. The Office 365 task-centric collaboration app, which is currently available in preview on the web and iOS, allows users to create a mini-app experience tailored to workers who conduct business in the so-called "gig economy."

Workers can collaborate on a project, proposal or other business-related task by drawing content from Office documents and compatible software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps such as those of Salesforce. Instead of sending an entire document or an entire customer record, the GigJam canvas allows users to selectively share content using gesture-based inputs.

For example, a manager can cross out an item that her subordinates or stable of freelancers may not be authorized to view by using the "X" gesture before it is shared, effectively redacting certain information from a Word file or another document. Now, GigJam is extending those capabilities to workers whose duties take them away from their devices.

Vijay Mital, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Ambient Computing and Robotics division, wrote in a Sept. 19 blog post that the company had "added the ability to share slices of images, documents and live line-of-business information with people who aren't online at the time of sending and expire that information in 24 hours." This allows co-workers, third-party contributors and other stakeholders to maintain momentum on a project, even if their schedules don't align.

Additionally, GigJam now allows users to get even more selective about the information they share. Mital said the service now offers the "ability to redact arbitrary content from images, PDFs or slides, ensuring that an object in a picture, a text block or a particular bullet doesn't even go over to the recipient."

Microsoft this week also announced that its Office 365 Project Time Reporter app is now available for iOS.

"With the Office 365 Project Time Reporter on your iPhone, you can add new assignments or non-project work to your timesheet or create new personal tasks in the Timesheet view," blogged the Microsoft Project team today. "Timesheets can be saved, allowing you to return later and send in for approval. You can also keep track of your current or overdue tasks in the Tasks view, filter and sort tasks to find the right ones, and submit status updates."

Last week, Microsoft launched the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) version of its Office Lens content capture app for Windows 10 devices. The app uses a smartphone, tablet or PC's camera to scan documents, business cards, photos and whiteboards. The app's automatic cropping, alignment and optical-character-recognition (OCR) capabilities are intended to help users incorporate information as it appears in the physical world into their digital workflows.

Joining the UWP flavor of the app is Office 365 and OneDrive support for iOS, Android and, of course, Windows. According to Microsoft, the capability will allow users to securely share and collaborate on items captured by the Office Lens app using work and school Office 365 accounts.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...