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Delivering the first chapter of Groups in Office 365

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Jared Spataro is the general manager of Enterprise Social at Microsoft.

At the SharePoint Conference in March, we announced our roadmap for a set of connected experiences that would enable your company to work like a network. This month, we reached an important milestone with Office Delve. Continuing on this journey, today we are rolling out the first phase of Groups in Office 365.

OWA Groups conversation feed

Getting things done at work means sharing information and collaborating across ad hoc groups and project teams.  But, often times the tools we use to bring people together are different in each app—distribution groups in Outlook, buddy lists in Lync, groups in Yammer.  That’s why we’re introducing Groups in Office 365, so you can easily connect with the colleagues, information and applications you need to do more.

Take a look at this video to learn how Groups brings people together to enable better communication and collaboration across Office 365.

To support a project, you can easily create a new Group and invite colleagues. You can also search for and join existing Groups, which are open by default, to see all discussions, milestones and files and get up to speed quickly.  Of course, you can create private Groups as well for sensitive projects and content.

We’re launching Groups in stages starting today.  In this initial phase, Groups will show up within the web experiences of Office 365 email and calendar and OneDrive for Business.  In upcoming phases, we will add Yammer and Lync to the Groups experience to help you do even more.

I’m excited for you to explore the possibilities with Groups to improve collaboration and begin working like a network!

— Jared Spataro

Frequently asked questions

Q. When will Groups be rolled out to Office 365 customers?

A. Groups will roll out to Office 365 customers in phases, first to customers that have elected to receive significant Office 365 service updates at first release, an opt-in program. Following that, Groups will roll out to all Office 365 customers over several months in standard release, the default option for Office 365 customers. We expect Groups to roll out to all eligible Office 365 customers by the end of this year.

Q. Which Office 365 plans include Groups?

A. Groups is a feature that is available in Outlook Web App email and calendar and OneDrive for Business, and will be rolled out to all customers that have an Exchange Online or Office 365 commercial subscription, both new and existing. Eligible Office 365 plans include the Office 365 Enterprise E1–E4 subscription plans (including the corresponding A2–A4 and G1–G4 plans for Academic and Government customers, respectively), Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium plans, Office 365 Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business plans and Office 365 Kiosk plan.

Q. Where can I go to learn more information about Groups?

A. Check out the Office.com Groups landing page for detailed user and technical documentation. You can also join our YamJam. On Monday, September 29th, the Office 365 Technical Network will host a YamJam from 9:00-10:00 a.m. PDT to discuss this news and members of the product engineering team will be on hand to answer your questions. For those unfamiliar with a YamJam, it is similar to a “TweetJam” on Twitter or an “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” on Reddit, except it takes place on Yammer. It provides the opportunity for the community to ask questions and have a discussion with a panel of internal Microsoft experts on a particular topic.

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Request access to the Office 365 Technical Network. All requests will be approved as quickly as possible.
  2. Join the Groups YamJam group. You can find it by using the Browse Groups function or through the search bar.
  3. Log in at 9:00 a.m. PDT on Monday, September 29th to ask questions, follow the discussions and connect with Microsoft team members.
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14 comments
  1. Hi Jared – this is a great feature to add. Are you planning to release an API for Groups?

    • Thanks for the feedback! We know how important extensibility story is for our customers and we are committed to supporting it. We have plans to provide APIs at a later date; our first priority is to deliver a great end user experience with the Office 365 workloads.

  2. hi all can anyone tell me why word crash with microsoft word has stopped working a problem caused the program to stop working correctly windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available can anyone help please

  3. My company is very interested in using Groups. Is there a way to expedite the roll out, like maybe submit a service request? We have already enabled “First release”, but we want to begin testing right away to see if this solves some of our calendar sharing issues.

    Also, regarding Group calendars, are you able to restrict who can make changes to a particular calendar in a Group? Can a Group calendar be viewable on, say, the native iOS calendar, or only the OWA for iOS?

    Thank you for your time.

    • We appreciate your interest in Groups! We are in the process of rolling out Groups to our customers, starting with First Release. If you haven’t already received Groups in your tenant, you should be seeing it very soon. As to Group calendars, they are designed to be shared so it is not possible to restrict users from making changes to a calendar if they are a member of that Group. To view the Group calendar on an iOS device, you will need to use OWA for iOS or simply go to OWA in the browser.

  4. Great to see some unification across collaboration services provided. These Groups sound like an attempt to reach that goal and reuse groups. Yet in Yammer already discussions on how confusion easily kicks in too.

    Do you have some nice high overview picture how all things fit together in your view?

  5. Hi Jared, where can I find more admin information about this feature? For instance, where is the data stored? Is it stored linked with the user that create the group? If the group’s owner is deleted, the data will be also removed? How it leads with e-mail conflicts if the user give a group name close to a user name or another corporate group?

    Thanks a lot.

  6. Any chance we can “delete” a conversation? Not seeing how that is possible right now…

    Also, putting a due-date or priority flag would be helpful. Think of Customer Service – as the conversations are started, a due date might be set to be sure it is handled by priority. Then, as the conversation is “completed”, it could then be moved out of the list (either deleted, or filed into a sub-folder, or something like that)

    • Ah! Just found it… Upper upper right corner of the message (right next to where it says “reply all”, there is an elipses that had Delete Conversation)

      Would be better to have the delete “X” in the main list of conversations, but at least we can clean up the queue.

  7. kwright62

    Will this work with Office 365 Home? I’m more that willing to subscribe to Share Point if needed. I would love to use this for projects at home and at work.

    Many thanks,

    Ken Wright

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