Emailing just got more social with a brilliant innovation from Outlook. Just like interacting on a Facebook post, email receivers may now like the emails they get.
Receivers, especially those who are getting group emails, may also mention a friend or colleague within the email text. The other party will know if someone liked their email or mentioned them.
To mention someone, the person may type "@" followed by the first letters of the name of the person. The function works like the Twitter feature.
"The new Like feature in Outlook on the web provides an easy way to visibly endorse a specific email and call it out as something worth attention-perhaps a statement or idea you support," Microsoft wrote on its official blog.
The Like feature's first rollout happens on Sept. 30 to Office 365 First Release customers whose plan covers Exchange Online. The function will expand to Office 365 commercial customers starting late October.
The Mention attribute will begin rolling out to First Release customers in the middle of October. It will expand to all Office 365 commercial subscribers in the middle of November.
Outlook.com clients who have been transferred to the latest version of the service will start noticing Mentions in December.
In the first half of 2016, clients for Mac and Windows, as well as Outlook for Android and iOS, will enjoy the Mention feature.
Upon the announcement, netizen Reid Culp commented on Microsoft's blog: "Do the other recipients of a message have to be on Exchange Online for these features to be available for someone who is already on Exchange Online?"
The question was clever and necessary, and Microsoft is yet to give the answer. Many Outlook users are interacting with friends, clients and co-workers who are on Gmail and Yahoo Mail. It remains a big question on how the Like and Mention features will work in these interactions.
Nonetheless, the whole revelation by Microsoft is stunning and refreshing. Emails have been a daily routine for Internet users yet the feature has always remained basic. It's about time emails get more engaging and modern.