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Microsoft Beefs Up Outlook With Some Of Sunrise's Features

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From Motion Stills and Google Photos last week, to Sunrise and Outlook this week. The app cannibalization saga continues.

Google announced last week that Motion Stills' video stabilization feature for Live Photos will be ported to Google Photos. It's Microsoft's turn this week as it closes down the Sunrise calendar app and sends off the best bits to Outlook.

Note that Sunrise was acquired by Microsoft earlier last year for more than $100 million.

In a blog post dated Sept. 13, Wednesday, the Sunrise team announced the app's shutdown for all platforms that it supports, which includes iOS, Android, Mac and web. Effective Sept. 14, all users will be logged off the service. The team, however, assures that users' calendar details will remain available through the original platform, that is, Gmail, Outlook, iCloud and others.

"This is definitely the end of an era. But more importantly, it's the beginning of a new one," writes the Sunrise team. "We've kept our promise to bring the magic of Sunrise to the Outlook calendar - and the Outlook inbox while we were at it - and we're only getting started."

Some of Sunrise's features have already been ported to Outlook on Android and iOS. A good example is the addition of events icons that let users easily scan their schedules.

"Try typing 'coffee' or 'lunch' next time you create an event and see what happens in your agenda view — the keywords automatically trigger an icon that matches your event title," explains Javier Soltero, Corporate VP of Outlook. He notes that new icons were introduced to add to Sunrise's collection.

Another is "Interesting Calendars," which allows users to be updated with their sports team's schedule. Events of the team the user is subscribed to will appear on Outlook. Microsoft is also looking to incorporate TV shows and other things that inviduals may want to keep track of. This feature functions similarly to "Calendar Apps," which turns Outlook into a centralized hub for third-party apps such as Facebook, Evernote and Wunderlist to connect to.

The time and date picker from Sunrise also got ported to Outlook. However, the implementation is currently limited to iOS. Android users will have to wait just a little bit longer.

The updated Outlook now includes maps in the event details. When the user enters an address, suggestions powered by Bing will pop up and can then be tied down to the event details. An integration with Skype for Business and improvements to recurring meetings also come with the current Outlook update.

Soltero also says that Outlook's next update will contain a new functionality that enables users to create recurring events.

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