Since the summer of 2015, a collection of add-ins has enabled users of the Outlook email client on Windows PCs and on the web to hail an Uber car or send money online via PayPal without leaving the application. Now, Mac users can get in on the act.
“In the coming weeks, add-ins in Outlook 2016 for Mac will begin to roll out—starting with Office Insider Fast,” blogged Microsoft’s Outlook team. “All existing add-ins for Outlook on the web and desktop—including Boomerang, Dynamics 365, Evernote, Giphy, Nimble, PayPal, Starbucks, Yelp, Uber, Wunderlist and Zomato—will be available as part of Office Insider Fast access.”
To enable these integrated experiences, users will need to join the Office Insider early-access program for the Mac and select the Fast release ring. After the add-ins wend their way through the Fast and Slow rings, the company plans to roll them out to all Office for Mac 2016 users.
Caveats apply, however. “Note that you will need your Outlook 2016 for Mac to be connected to a migrated Outlook.com or an Office 365, Exchange 2016 or Exchange 2013 SP1 account to use the add-ins,” cautioned the Outlook group in an accompanying FAQ.
Microsoft is also extending its Twitter-tracking Office 365 Connector technology to Outlook on the web.
When linked to an Office Group, the connectors deliver updates and content from third-party apps into the group inbox. Now users of the browser-based version of the client can add a selection of connectors to their own inboxes. The first round includes Asana, Bing News, Bitbucket, GitHub, Twitter, Trello, Wunderlist and Yammer, with more to follow, said Microsoft.
Relatedly, a new Actionable Messages feature, also for Outlook on the web, allows users to perform actions or tasks directly in notification emails. For example, users can “like” or retweet a tweet when a Twitter update hits their inboxes without leaving the app. Actionable messages are available for the Asana, Bitbucket, GitHub, Trello, Twitter and Wunderlist connectors.
Microsoft plans to add other services including SAP Fieldglass, TINYpulse and its own Microsoft Flow workflow automation app. The company is also working to bring the Connector and Actionable Messages to the desktop versions of Outlook and Outlook.com.
The Outlook apps for iOS and Android got a major behind-the-scenes update this week that may assuage some security concerns.
“We’re thrilled to announce that Outlook for iOS and Android is now powered by the Microsoft Cloud for Office 365 commercial users,” wrote the Outlook team in a Sept. 26 blog post. “This means that all your data is now fully delivered through Microsoft services that provide a strong commitment to security, privacy and compliance.”
The current versions of Outlook for iOS and Android hail from the December 2014 acquisition of the popular Acompli email app. Before the move, they cached a subset of user data on Amazon Web Services (AWS), a holdover from the apps’ pre-Microsoft days.