Microsoft Office

Microsoft Releases 'Delve,' A Productivity-Aimed Office Assistant

Entrepreneurs and other professionals are constantly trying to be more productive and get more done in less time. For those who use Microsoft's suite of technology for business, the company has released a long-awaited service that has productivity top-of-mind (so to speak).

Enter Office Delve, which has begun rolling out to its business customers. Think of Delve as a handy tool that scours a person's Microsoft accounts (think cloud-storage tool OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online and Yammer) to deliver relevant information and contacts.

Delve is powered by something called Office Graph, which uses "sophisticated machine learning techniques to map the relationships between people, content, and activity that occurs across Office 365," Microsoft says. The information Delve digs up is presented on screen via a card-based design.

Over the next few months, Microsoft says it plans to integrate Delve's search engine functionality with other products including OneNote and Lync.

Related: Guess Who Wrote Microsoft's 'Blue Screen of Death'

"Delve simply makes work more intuitive and easier to navigate," Julia White, general manager of Office 365 Technical Product Management," says in the announcement. "Instead of having to dig through email, search on Yammer, or explore SharePoint and OneDrive for Business to find the right stuff, you can simply use Delve to have the right information delivered to you."

To get a better sense of how Microsoft's Office Graph works here's a video explaining how it works behind the scenes:

If Delve doesn't sound immediately familiar, that's because the project was previously referred to by Microsoft by codename Oslo. Microsoft first started talking publicly about Oslo back in March

Right now, Microsoft says Delve is included in the Office 365 Enterprise E1 – E4 subscription plans. Starting in January, Delve will also be included in the Office 365 Business Essentials and Business Premium plans, Office 365 Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business plans, the company says.

Related: Microsoft May Be Developing a Streaming Dongle to Compete With Chromecast