No, this isn’t Cortana in an office suit. It isn’t even voice-controlled. But somewhat like Google Now, Delve will also surface relevant and timely content for users, but one that has been dug out from users’ emails, documents, and cloud storage. No more searching for contacts and files that you need for a hot project you are working on. Delve will put those front and center to greet you when and where you need it.
At least, that’s the theory. Delve, also known by its codename “Oslo”, is a product born from Microsoft‘s “Office Graph” introduced last month. Office Graph, as the name implies, dives into (hence the name “Delve”) Microsoft’s Office-related products, like OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, etc. with the likes of Outlook and OneNote to follow soon. What it does is to analyze the documents, contacts, and other bits and pieces of information it can find and draw up relations between those.
In effect, it is trying to learn the most important things in your work life based on those details. It will notice that you talk with a certain person over a certain project quite a lot and it will present that person’s contact card to you when you need it for a certain project, for example. So instead of searching, it will be more or less guessing, based on the data it has gathered and analyzed.
Because it learns more when it has more data to learn from, Delve might be best suited for group cases where multiple teams or persons are involved. That said, it is also functional even for personal use cases. It seems to also be tied with Office 365 only, leaving those who use the more traditional offline apps out in the cold.
Delve for Office 365 isn’t going to have one massive simultaneous launch. Instead, Microsoft will be rolling it out to the half a dozen Office 365 editions in stages. The company, however, plans to complete the distribution of the feature to all Office 365 subscribers by early 2015.