Updated: March 31, 2020 1:00:56 pm
Microsoft is rebranding its Office 365 service as Microsoft 365. The Microsoft 365 service for personal and family subscriptions comes with new AI-driven features in Word, Powerpoint, Excel and a dedicated Family Safety app. Office 365 Pro, which was geared towards small and medium-businesses and Office 365Pro Plus are also being revamped under the Microsoft 365 branding.
In a statement, Microsoft said that the new experiences will start rolling out immediately and reach over 38 million Office 365 subscribers over the next few months. The company is also adding some features to help manage personal tasks via the Microsoft Teams app.
It also announced that Skype, its video-calling app, has seen an increase in usage with 40 million people using it daily, which is an increase of 70 per cent month-over-month. There has been a 220 per cent increase in Skype-to-Skype calling minutes month over month. Here’s a look at what Microsoft will offer to consumers with the 365 subscription service.
Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions: Availability date, price
Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions will be available starting April 21, 2020. The Personal subscription will cost Rs 4199 per year in India. The Family subscription will cost Rs 5299 per year, and it allows up to six people in one family to use the Microsoft 365 subscription. The price is the same as the existing Office 365 service, which is available for personal and family usage as well.
Microsoft 365: What customers continue to get
Customers will continue to get all the benefits and features of Office 365 in addition to the new features. Premium Office apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Notes, etc continue, as does the one TB of OneDrive cloud storage per person. The service also includes 60 Skype minutes for calling mobile phones and landlines, advanced security features and ongoing technical support.
Microsoft 365: Microsoft Editor
Microsoft Editor is an AI-powered service and available in more than 20 languages. It will now be accessible on Word and Outlook.com and as a browser extension for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.
The Editor will help users when they are writing with spelling and grammar. If a user is unsure of how to phrase a sentence, they will be able to highlight this and right-click for ‘Rewrite Suggestions,’ which is one of the features. The AI-powered Editor also has a Similarity Checker to look for plagiarism and ensure that writers are creating original content. Where necessary, it will also insert relevant citations into their document with just a click, according to the company. This is the first time that such a feature is being introduced.
Microsoft 365: Presenter Coach in PowerPoint
The existing Presenter Coach in PowerPoint, which uses AI to help users better prepare for a presentation, is getting new features as well. With monotone pitch, the Presenter Coach will listen to the tone of voice and give feedback in real-time to suggest adding some variation needs to be added to make the presentation more powerful. Speech refinement will give grammar suggestions to the presenter.
These features will be available to everyone through a free preview, but eventually they will be limited to only Microsoft 365 subscribers.
The company is also adding a new Designer feature to PowerPoint for more creativity in presentations. Subscribers will get access to over 8,000 images and 175 looping videos from Getty Images, plus 300 new fonts, 2,800 new icons and 200+ new premium templates to make their presentations more appealing, according to the company.
Work from Home appears to be the norm for many of us. We at Indian Express tech have some articles which could help make this easier. First, how to optimise your WiFi, which is really important. Read on that here. Next, we explain how to save data on WhatsApp given we might be using a lot more of this. Then we explain how you can balance screen time while doing work from home. Also these video calling apps can be useful when relying on work from home. Don’t let it be all about work, you can rely on these fitness apps to continue that workout during the lockdown. And finally some general tips to keep in mind while working from home.
Microsoft 365: New features in Excel
The new Money solution is designed to help users manage, track and analyse their money and spending all in one place. It can connect to a user’s bank and credit card accounts. The tool is powered by Plaid, which allows users to connect their bank and credit card accounts. Users will have the option of importing transactions and account balances automatically and create a personalised workbook. It will be made available in the US first in the coming months.
There are also new data types and smart templates in Excel for interacting with data. These new data types will cover 100 topics like food, movies, places, chemistry, and even Pokémon. Users will be able to convert plain text and numbers into a data type and Excel will showcase visual and interactive data cards and images to provide a better representation of this same data. For instance, this could be used to track nutrition intake.
Microsoft says the new data types and smart templates will be available to Office Insiders this spring. The features will be rolled out to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers in English in the coming months.
Microsoft 365: Outlook, Skype, Teams and Edge Browser
Outlook on the web will help users link their personal calendar to their work calendar to show their real availability, while still maintaining their privacy, says the company. Skype’s Meet Now feature will let users create video meetings for free, with no sign ups or downloads required. Microsoft Edge browser gets a Password Monitor.
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For Teams, which is the Microsoft answer to Slack, the company is adding features to help users manage their personal life better. It will let users create groups to plan trips with friend book club meetings, share grocery lists, organise across family calendars, store important information like Wi-Fi passwords and account info, etc. These new features will preview on the Microsoft Teams mobile app in the coming months, according to the company.
Microsoft 365: New Family Safety feature
This is a new mobile experience, which will be made available on iOS and Android for all Microsoft 365 subscribers in the coming months. Microsoft is first starting with a limited preview on iOS and Android.
The Family Safety app will allow parents to manage screen time across Windows PCs, Android and Xbox devices, showing which apps or games were accessed and for how long. It will allow location sharing and give notifications when a child leaves the home or school. It will also let parents ensure that children do not access content, which is age inappropriate when browsing the web.
But it is not just designed to keep an eye on children. The feature will also let family members keep an eye on those who might not be so proficient when it comes to driving and give driving reports as well. Microsoft says they will not share such information with third parties, such as insurance companies.
Microsoft 365: Access to some wellbeing apps
The Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers will get limited-time access to popular apps and premium services such as Adobe, Bark, Blinkist, Creative Live, Experian, Headspace, and TeamSnap.
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