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Microsoft Begins Rolling Out 'Clutter' Feature to Office 365 Users

The "Clutter" e-mail prioritization feature that Microsoft debuted in March is now starting to be rolled out to Office 365 business users.

Clutter uses machine learning and Microsoft's Office Graph technology to learn about the sort of e-mail messages that aren't considered to be of much interest to individual end users. After a learning period, it sends these less wanted e-mails to a Clutter folder in the user's Outlook e-mail client.

The Clutter feature is described in Microsoft's announcement on Tuesday as capable of getting "smarter" over time. Alternatively, users can actively "train" it by marking certain e-mail messages as clutter. They can do that by either moving messages into the Clutter folder or by using the right button on a mouse to mark the messages via a pop-up menu.

The Clutter feature can be turned off, if wanted. It only starts to take action once it has learned a particular user's preferences. It ignores any rules set up in Outlook, as rules take precedence over the Clutter feature. Clutter works on the e-mail that has passed a user's spam filter.

Users of Office 365 business plans will start to see the Clutter feature later this month, although "first-release" testers already have access to Clutter. The feature is getting rolled out to English language users first.

Clutter works in the Outlook client for desktops, as well as in Outlook Web Apps. It works with various mobile devices if they support using Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol.

Microsoft plans to answer questions about the Clutter feature on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. The Q&A, called a "YamJam," can be accessed through the Office 365 Technical Network on the Yammer social networking service.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.