Three months ago, during a Reddit AMA, Bill Gates said that he was working on a new 'personal agent' app and it looks like that app may be Office Now. Earlier today, I was able to get my hands on the app but unfortunately, you need a Microsoft employee account to be able to login.
But, that doesn't mean we can't dig into the assets of the app and see what we can find.
After looking at all the image assets, which includes tutorials, Office Now is about helping you organize your day and find the information that is relevant to the objective you are trying to accomplish quickly. Think of it like Office Delve, but for things that happen during your day.
The app makes it easy to schedule meetings, quickly find emails that are directed specifically at you, get directions to a meeting, join a conference call and similar tasks.
By opening the app, you get an 'executive summary' of your day which includes a high level look at your meetings for the day: if the meetings are back to back, if they are they require you to travel to them and how long it will take to get there too. One neat feature in the app is that it will notify you if there is an atypical change to a meeting; meaning if the location or time changes, or if it is canceled shortly before the meeting, you will get an alert.
Below are some of the features added with the most recent update:
- At-a-glance summary of your day first thing in the morning directly from your lock screen or notification center.
- Commute card - Tells you what traffic looks like and how long your commute will take.
- Highlights card - Presents insights about your day, like how much time you'll spend in events, when your first event starts and when your last event ends.
- Missed call card -Shows any missed calls and provides a quick action to return the call.
- In-depth people insights - via a deep link into the Revolve app.
- Natural language event creation -Allows you to create events like you would say it.
- Email to yourself card - Displays any email that you send to yourself.
- Emails directly to you - Shows email that is sent directly to you from others.
The app appears to do many of the things that Cortana is capable of doing but the way it is organized and presented makes it useful for the instant need for information during your day. With Cortana, you have to ask or wait to be presented content but with Office Now, it's a proactive, on-going, personal agent to help you stay on schedule and get through the workday.
No word on when the app will be released by Microsoft but it should be coming to iOS, Windows and Android when it makes its way out of the private beta testing.
Thanks for the tip h0x0d