Yet again, Microsoft’s Online Team have brought out a number of new/updated features for their Online Services for December 2009 so let’s take a look:
Exchange Online Connector for Outlook 2003
This connector enhances user’s experiences when using Outlook 2003 to connect to Exchange Online. It’s big features are:
- Enables users to see free/busy information when scheduling meetings
- Allows offline access to the Global Address List (GAL)
These features bring the Online experience with Outlook 2003 on a par with the on-site use most people are familiar with. These features are unavailable without the connector.
After being in beta-testing since late September 2009, it is now available for download here.
Retrieve Exchange Online Usage Info
Using the wonders of Powershell commandlets, administrators can now pull basic usage information from their Exchange Online environments; including:
- User sign in activity
- Mailbox size
- Password expiration
and more. The Microsoft Online Services Migration Tools will be updated and available to download by the end of January 2010 (which is only next month!)…so keep your eye on the Microsoft Download Center over the next few weeks.
Both of these updates are great news for users and admins. There are a huge number of businesses out there that are still running Office 2003 so by offering them a full experience with Exchange Online, Microsoft have made it a much more attractive proposition for many people.
For administrators, being able to easily see how often/when people are logging in, how much storage they have etc will be of huge benefit. Again, this helps organizations feel more in control of their environment and data, which is often a big point when having cloud discussions with customers.
You can see the full MS Online Blog post here with more info on other new features too.