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Microsoft Gives Upcoming SharePoint Mobile App an AI Boost

A more streamlined SharePoint Mobile App is arriving next month with new artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, Microsoft announced this week.

The company expects to make the new app available worldwide for iOS and Android device users by "mid-September 2018." Microsoft did not share any details about whether an updated app would also be available for Windows 10 users, though.

The main change made by Microsoft in the updated SharePoint Mobile App was to consolidate the "Sites, People and Search" tabs into a single, new "Find" tab. The Find tab uses AI to "tap into expertise and knowledge across your organization," explained Mark Kashman, a senior product manager on the SharePoint team, in the announcement. The Find tab shows the files and people that the AI deems relevant to the end user. Kashman described this new design as being Microsoft's "most significant SharePoint Mobile Apps update" so far.

Additionally, the SharePoint Mobile App provides intranet site browsing, personalized views of an organization's "Team Sites, Communication Sites and News posts," and access to organizational contact cards. It'll permit mobile users to create News posts and receive notifications about published articles.

The updated SharePoint Mobile App will just be seen next month for SharePoint Online Office 365 subscribers. Microsoft is planning to add updated app support for organizations that use SharePoint Server in their datacenters, but warned that the new Find tab user experience might lag. For instance, users of SharePoint Server 2013 or higher versions currently will just see the old user experience in the SharePoint Mobile App.

Some readers of Microsoft's announcement commented that they weren't happy about the simplified Find tab approach, describing the new design as "not a natural solution for many users." Nate Clinton responded that "we realize it's a bit of a change," and that Microsoft is seeking feedback.

Microsoft plans to talk more about the SharePoint Mobile App in an hour-long "Ask Microsoft Anything" Q&A session on Aug. 30, 2018, starting at 9:00 a.m. PST. The mobile app design also will be discussed in a Sept. 5, 2018 Web presentation conducted by Microsoft's Kashman and Clinton, starting at 9:00 a.m. PST.

In addition to the mobile app AI improvements, Microsoft also earlier described AI enhancements for SharePoint Online and OneDrive, which will arrive sometime later this year.

About the Author

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

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