Microsoft announced new improvements to Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online on Monday that will be rolled out to subscribers.
The improvements, primarily for end users, are starting to appear for Microsoft 365 tenants who choose to get so-called “targeted release” updates. Targeted releases must be tested by a small group of users before they are deployed more broadly.
Some of the new features may slide into December, the announcement said.
SharePoint page performance
Notable among the couple is a new SharePoint Online site performance page, which is accessible to sharepoint site owners and editors.
The performance page shows a color-coded ranking (from red to green) of the “health” of a SharePoint page. For example, it can be used to check the load time of a SharePoint home page. Performance page users get tips on what to fix, such as reducing image size to improve page load times or using a content delivery network to speed up performance.
A new “My Feed” Web Part for SharePoint Online users will be released. It shows documents, chats and videos based on Microsoft 365 information that has surfaced by Microsoft Graph. The content in My Feed is personalized for all users instead of being static.
The announcement included an interview with Dag Eidesen, a chief program manager for Microsoft Search, who explained how Microsoft Search evolved from the earlier Microsoft Delve effort, which was too document-oriented. Microsoft and its FAST Search team in Norway wanted to bring the search capabilities directly to the end users, and that’s what My Feed does, rather than going to Delve’s search app.
Microsoft Graph connectors
Microsoft released new Microsoft Graph connectors in November, which adds search connections to software solutions, including non-Microsoft software. Ten connectors have recently been released, most of which have reached “general availability” commercial release status, according to a Microsoft document, namely:
- Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2
- Azure DevOps
- Azure SQL
- Enterprise websites
- Microsoft SQL Server
- File sharing
- Oracle (example)
- Salesforce (preview)
- Service now
Organizations can access a gallery of Microsoft Graph connectors for more search connector options. There is also an API for building Graph connectors.
Other Microsoft 365 benefits
End users on the targeted release path will soon get other improvements.
In the field of email, attached Word files for end users are summarized in three bulleted paragraphs, which is done automatically through artificial intelligence. It’s a way to quickly assess its relevance.
Microsoft Teams users get user interface improvements. They can now more easily select content on the SharePoint tab in Teams when they “add pages, lists, or document libraries to a channel in Teams,” according to the announcement.
Team users have a new way to create polls that are presented at Teams meetings through a Microsoft Forms integration. Survey results can be tracked directly and shown to meeting participants if desired. It is also possible for meeting participants to complete a poll after a meeting has ended if a poll is not closed.
Microsoft Lists gets the Undo and Again buttons, which can be used to change content in a list.
Users of OneDrive’s cloud-based storage service can create shared libraries. The idea is to make it easier to collaborate with others, which happens because “shared libraries are supported by Microsoft 365 Groups, so that the group automatically gains access to the files that members place in the shared library,” the announcement explains.