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Microsoft & Google Expand Features To Take Advantage Of WFH Trend

As millions more work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, both Google and Microsoft are adding new features to their software tools in attempt to gain a larger market share. Microsoft has announced that it will be adding predictive text functionality to its Outlook products, much like the text predictions already offered on Google’s Gmail.

The Verge was the first to spot the support document, which reveals what Microsoft’s version of text predictions will look like.

According to the document, Outlook will suggest words or phrases as you type messages, and users will be able to accept the suggestion by pressing the Tab or Right Arrow keys. If users want to ignore a suggestion, they can simply keep typing. Outlook will also give users the option to turn off text predictions.

This is very similar to Gmail’s format of predictive text, called Smart Compose, which was added back in May 2018.

Text predictions is not yet active on Outlook yet, but it will likely be rolled out soon. Some have speculated that Microsoft may also add a feature similar to Google’s Smart Reply, which suggests quick responses to emails.

All of these features raise some privacy concerns, as they rely on the software scanning the contents of your emails for its AI functionality.

Google is also doubling down on the development of its video conferencing platforms in attempt to eat into Zoom’s dominant position in the market. According to the Android Police, Google Duo will support 32 call participants, up from 12, in the near future. Google Duo is free to use and works on both iOS and Android devices.

Google has also made a host of changes to its Meet video-conferencing platform since the COVID-19 lockdowns. In late April Google stated that Meet was adding 3 million new users every day.

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