Microsoft has been making some big changes this year, adding third-party storage options to a variety of apps. However, the company's support for Google Drive has always been somewhat rocky.
Outlook is a good example of this. The mobile apps support Google Drive, but the web client has been lacking in integration. On Thursday Microsoft decided to address that issue, and Google Drive integration is now available on Outlook.com, alongside some other key features.
Google Drive Integration
Though you could always share Google Drive links on Outlook, the process was far from intuitive. The document would open in a new a tab, and was very detached from the Outlook client itself.
With this update
, Drive files will open inside of Outlook.
As with Office files, users get access to an editor right in their mailbox, saving on time and workflow interruption. The functionality is available for Docs, Sliders, and Sheets, and works for both links and attachments.
Facebook Photo Sharing
Microsoft's second addition makes it much easier to share Facebook
pictures on Outlook. Though the platform has over 1.7 billion active users, its reach doesn't quite expand to everyone yet.
As such, showing your photos to those outside of your physical reach can be a pain. You have to download each photo to your desktop
individually, before re-uploading them to an email or messaging platform.
It's not ideal, and that's why Microsoft has included this feature. You simply connect your Facebook account to Outlook, and can see all of your pictures from inside the client.
The organization is the same as in Facebook, with photos that you're tagged in, as well as the pictures you've uploaded.
New Attachment Feature
Finally, the Outlook team has changed the way attachments work. On the previous version, files showed on each message, and that was it. That works completely fine for most users, but in business scenarios, it can be a hassle.
On a long email chain, for example, all but the most recent messages are minimized. This saves on load times and screen real-estate but means that finding a specific attachment can take a lot of time.
This update adds a small paper clip icon to the top of each message chain. Clicking it will display a list of documents and photos which can then be seen with a single click. It's a simple addition, but should help to save a lot of time in the long run.
In general, the updates
feel like a step forward. The new sharing features make Outlook more interconnected than ever before and show that Microsoft is putting user experience ahead of rivalry.
You can read more about the changes on the Office blog