tech

Microsoft announces universal search, updates to Office 2019, Surface Hub and more

From Office 2019 to new Surface Hub, here are the top announcements made by Satya Nadella at the ongoing Microsoft Ignite conference.

Microsoft has announced the roll-out of Office 2019 for Windows and Mac.
Microsoft has announced the roll-out of Office 2019 for Windows and Mac. (REUTERS)

Microsoft is hosting its 'Ignite' technology in Orlando, Florida. During the five-day long conference, the company will be launching new products and solutions for developers and IT professionals across the globe.

During his opening keynote on Monday, Microsoft Satya Nadella made some important announcements ranging from Slack-rival Teams to universal search platform that will rival Google.

Microsoft Search

Microsoft is building a universal search for all its products. 'Microsoft Search' will be a unified search bar in Bing, Office apps, Windows, Teams for personal users and organisations. Microsoft Search will give personalised results combining traditional search results, local files, commands, and more.

Microsoft Search will be first available for Bing and Office.com, and in SharePoint and Outlook smartphone apps. It will roll out to Windows 10 and Office desktop apps later in 2019.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft's Slack competitor, Teams is getting new features. Microsoft Teams gets background blur for video calls. As the name suggests, users can blur their background during a video call on Teams. This feature has started rolling out for users. Microsoft is also introducing video recording feature for users to record their meetings.

Microsoft also revealed that currently 239,000 organisations are using Teams. Earlier this July, Microsoft released a free version of Teams, which would earlier be available with Office 365 subscription only.

Microsoft Office 2019

Microsoft has announced the roll-out of Office 2019 for Windows and Mac. Microsoft Office 2019 brings upgrades to its suite of products - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Project, Visio, Access, and Publisher. Microsoft has made this Office 2019 release specifically for users who haven't subscribed to Office 365 Pro Plus. It includes features which have been added to Office 365 Pro Plus within the last three years.

Some of the features include 'Morph' and 'Zoom' in PowerPoint 2019, a roaming pencil case, pressure sensitivity and tilt effects. New data analysis features are added to Excel 2019, while Word 2019 and Outlook 2019 get features like 'Read Aloud' and 'Text Spacing'.

Microsoft Surface Hub 2

Earlier this May, Microsoft announced its second-generation Surface Hub whiteboard. At its Ignite conference, Microsoft demonstrated the Surface Hub 2 for the first time. The demonstration started with rotating the Surface Hub 2's screen with the content remaining intact.

There's a fingerprint sensor embedded below the monitor via which one or more users can login at the same time and pull up their saved tasks. It also allows users to drag data from one app to the other at the same time. These features will be available through a software update, Suface Hub 2X later in 2020.

The Surface Hub 2 in 2019 with pricing details yet to be announced. The company also announced a new Surface Hub 2S which will ship next year as well.

LinkedIn integration with Microsoft Outlook, Office apps

Microsoft is deepening its LinkedIn integration with Office apps and Outlook. Outlook users will be able to access information of their LinkedIn contacts through this integration. It will also allow Outlook users to work with their LinkedIn contacts through Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Here, LinkedIn users can co-author documents on Office apps. Microsoft hasn't announced a release date for this roll-out.