Microsoft enables document chat in Office Online powered by Skype

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Microsoft enables document chat in Office Online powered by Skype

Collaborating over a document is one of the most popular ways to work in a group. With Microsoft’s Office Online it has been possible to share and simultaneously co-author a document, but now you can chat via Skype within the browser. This makes communicating about the current document easy and natural.

Working together usually requires communication about the document. Previously this could be done with other tools used in tandem with editing the document. Microsoft has made it easier to communicate with colleagues or classmates. Currently only in Word Online and PowerPoint Online, a window on the right side of the document can be opened which is the document chat. This feature is powered by Skype so the conversation can be continued on Skype desktop or mobile while away from the document.

Microsoft has provided very minimal details as to how this works. It is unclear if all the users will need to have set up Skype with the account they are editing the document with or not. Also how does the group chat work? Will it automatically create a new thread with all the members editing the document, or just those who have opened or used the chat pane? It will be interesting to test this new feature out, but it feels like Microsoft has finally caught up with Google Docs.