Latest Microsoft Garage App Unlocks Content Trapped in Your Email

Posted on February 15, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Office, Office 365 with 8 Comments

Latest Microsoft Garage App Unlocks Content Trapped in Your Email

While the very notion of a lightweight email search tool may seem quaint in this mobile/cloud era, Microsoft may be on to something here. Its new Email Insights app for Windows 10 promises faster, more relevant email searches than what’s possible today in Microsoft Outlook or Gmail.

“Searching through emails can be tedious at times,” the Email Insights website notes. “You might have to keep scrolling to find that elusive email. We present a lightweight no-frills email application to alleviate these problems.”

Now, those who use Gmail in particular, or any web client, really, are probably wondering what the point is here. I am, certainly. But the bigger issue here, I think, is that this tool is separate from the email application you’re using. That is, yes, it works with both Outlook 2016 and Gmail. But it’s a separate app. That you download from the Windows Store.

So I tested it. And sure enough, it works as advertised, and seems to work quickly. Email appears inline in the search results, and you can expand each message individually to read more.

My guess here—as I’ve only tested this with Gmail—is that Email Insights would be a big deal for Outlook users, since that application is so terrible. Further, this would be a much bigger deal if Microsoft simply integrated this technology into Outlook 2016. And its other email solutions, especially in the cloud.

According to Microsoft, the impetus for Email Insights was simple enough: Email search sucks. (Remember that these are Microsoft guys, so they were/are probably using Outlook. Email search in Gmail is excellent.)

“The email search experience today lags far behind the web search experience,” the firm notes. “A user might search for an email with some keywords and keep scrolling down the search results to find that elusive email. A user has to remember the keywords from an email or the spelling of peoples’ names to get to the required email. Moreover, having a complex application with hundreds of features is an overkill for doing some quick tasks like send one liner emails.”

If regularly plumbing email for specific content is an issue for you, Email Insights is worth checking out. But I can’t help but think that this solution should simply be part of Microsoft’s email services and applications.

 

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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Latest Microsoft Garage App Unlocks Content Trapped in Your Email”

  1. Avatar

    296

    Paul you're so down on Outlook 2016, I'm curious why.  Outlook (of Office, not to be confused with all sorts of other Outlooks) used to be pretty rough, but they've made significant strides over the last couple of years - ironically, especially in search.

     

    It does still struggle when moving large batches of email (e.g. moving hundreds of messages from your working to online or offline archive).

    What frustrates me is that key Outlook 2016 productivity features (e.g. Categories, Ability to differentiate due dates on flags, search folders, rules, quick actions, etc.) aren't supported anywhere outside of Outlook 2016

  2. Avatar

    437

    From my experience Outlook 2016 search isn't bad, though I'm not sitting on it querying night and day like I know some folks do. I downloaded this app and messed around a bit I see it doesn't pull from any local archives you may have setup in Outlook so for some that would be a problem. The search though as Paul said was quick hopefully whatever improvements they make here they will bake into Outlook search.

  3. Avatar

    8444

    Search on a webservice is always better and quicker then when you search in partially downloaded e-mail folders offline and get constant "continue search on server" link buttons.

  4. Avatar

    131

    It would be nice if this app would search the In-Place Archive, for O365 Exchange users.  That's my current pain point with users:  they have to login to OWA and use that terrible search interface for searching archived emails.

  5. Avatar

    5496

    It does not work for the Outlook app. Which I find search to work good anyway.

    I tried to set it up with gmail, it kept crashing.

  6. Avatar

    BizTechSherpa

    I download it and it works great with Outlook 2016 connected to Office365. This should be built into a future version of Outlook.


    I actually miss Windows 7 / Outlook 2010 - I could search from the task bar search and it retrieved emails that matched the words or phrase I searched for.

  7. Avatar

    aisilverman

    I have three email accounts in Outlook but Email Insights only captures one, Hotmail which is not my mail account. I sent feedback to MS and got a fairly quick response that they hoped to add multiple accounts very soon. I hope that is true because it will be a very useful addition to using Outlook.


  8. Avatar

    5234

    Already got Inbox.  Don't need this.

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