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Microsoft Releases Office 365 'Delve' Apps for iOS, Android

Microsoft on Tuesday made its "Delve" discovery and social networking solution for Office 365 available to iOS and Android mobile devices.

The Delve app for Android devices runs on Android 4.4 and higher operating system versions, while the Delve app for iOS devices is supported on iOS 8.0 and greater versions. These releases will be available first in the United States, Ireland and Norway, but a broader rollout is planned over the coming weeks, according to Microsoft's announcement.

The new Delve mobile apps include two feature additions. Microsoft added user profile enhancements and a new blogging capability to the apps, representing the first of many updates to come. In general, Microsoft expects to update its Delve apps on a monthly basis, going forward.

The new Delve profile and blogging improvements are just available to end users that have elected to be in the so-called "first release" update cycle. Users in the standard update cycle will get the changes "in the coming months," per Microsoft's announcement.

People can elect to be in one release group or another. It can be set by IT pros using the Office Admin Center. However, an "Office Delve for Office 365 Admins" document explains that "the First Release program is available for Office 365 Enterprise and Office 365 Education" editions. Apparently, government users don't have the first-release option. Microsoft offers Delve at no additional cost to its Office 365 E1, E3 and E4 subscribers.

A Delve app for Windows Phone-based devices isn't available yet. Microsoft is working on one, but future availability wasn't specified.

Microsoft improved the profiles experience for Delve users. It now supports various screen sizes, ranging from four inches to big screens. In addition, users can now access their Delve profiles from OneDrive for Business, which is Microsoft's cloud-enabled file storage service. It's also available via Microsoft's Outlook Web App e-mail client.

The improved profiles interface also now includes a new blogging capability. It's possible to view and edit these blogs via mobile devices. Users can also post blog materials to Yammer, which is Microsoft's enterprise social networking app. Photos and documents can be uploaded to these blog posts from the desktop, from OneDrive for Business and from the Office 365 Video service.

The new Delve blogging capability is enabled by "a completely new page authoring platform for Office 365," according to Microsoft's announcement. This so-called "authoring canvas" will the model for creating pages in Office 365 for profiles, groups and "future NextGen Portals," according to Microsoft's announcement. Microsoft is also promising to add "enterprise-grade content management controls" for this authoring canvas capability.

Organizations will see some Office 365 service changes with the April Delve update. For instance, the new Delve blog feature and authoring canvas capability will replace existing SharePoint Online My Sites blogs, Microsoft's announcement explained.

Organizations that have customized the "About Me" page will retain those customizations for just "the next six months," Microsoft explained. The new Delve user profile experience doesn't yet support customization.

Microsoft first rolled out Delve in September. The solution, which previously went by the "Oslo" code name, uses FAST enterprise search and machine learning technology to make it easier for organizations to find information based on "people, content and activity" associated with Office 365 apps. Delve uses Azure Active Directory permissions, so Microsoft claims that end users never have access to any materials that they weren't authorized to access. Delve tracks activities and content across Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and the Office 365 Video service.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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