Office 365 Network opens up with new public preview

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These days, Microsoft is enabling a public preview, beta, or technical preview for most of its services. Windows 10 and Xbox One users have the Insider program, Visual Studio and Azure offer technical previews, and now Office 365 Network users will be joining the early access train.

The Office team announced today the public preview of Office 365 Network that should allow even more IT Pros, technical experts, and product enthusiasts access to important Office 365 news, tips, tricks and best practices.

According to a post on the Office Blogs, changes to the current Office 365 Network include hosting of unauthenticated platforms resulting in internet searchable community post.

Currently, the Office 365 Network is hosted as an authenticated Yammer network, which requires registration and sign-in to participate in the community, and makes discussion content searchable and discoverable only by users who are registered and signed into the network. In an effort to make the community content accessible to anyone, the new Office 365 Network will be hosted on an unauthenticated platform, meaning community posts will appear in internet search results, and visitors won’t have to sign in to view content in the network.

Office 365 Network community members can look forward to these specific additions and benefits of the public preview as well:

  • Personalize your home page so it displays community discussions and other content related to topics you select.
  • Earn badges based on your activity in the community, which will be displayed on your profile page along with a summary of your activity—including latest posts, likes given and received, people you follow and community notifications.
  • Search community content to uncover discussions, ideas and other information from across the Office 365 Network.
  • View conversations as threaded conversations and hold private conversations with others using your community inbox.

Above all else, opening up a public preview to Office 365 Network means that new and current members have more access to Office-related material. Eventually, Microsoft would like to move everyone over to the new experience and has set a date to which the current members of Office 365 Network will be redirected to the public preview starting September 1, 2016.

For now, the more technical of the communities will remain hosted on Yammer due to NDA’s and the services ability to enforce authenticated experiences. Microsoft lists Office 365 MVP Network, invitation-only network for Office Server & Services MVPs, Microsoft product teams and Yammer Community Managers as still being hosted on Yammer.

As mentioned earlier, the public preview is rolling out currently, and Microsoft is encouraging those interested testing it out also to offer feedback and suggestions through the Community Ideas Exchange or to visit the Community Discussion Board for more information.