Microsoft has bought aspiring digital assistant start-up Genee and will roll it into Office 365.
Billed by Microsoft as an “artificial-intelligence-powered scheduling service,” Genee uses natural-language queries to set up tasks.
In its beta phase the service was available free of charge. The service will now, however, shut down on September 1. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.
Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Outlook and Office 365, Rajesh Jha, wrote in a blog post: “Genee team will help us further our ambition to bring intelligence into every digital experience.”
Genee works across email and calendar so users can request and set-up meetings supposedly without engaging in several rounds of email tennis and calendar opening.
According to Microsoft, Genee is especially useful for large groups where you don’t have access to somebody’s calendar.
The task is executed via email by including Genee on your list of CCs, along with the individuals you want to attend.
In that email, according to Genee, you might type: “Genee, schedule a call for next week"
Genee works on iOS – but neither Android or Windows Mobile – SMS, Twitter Chat, Facebook Chat and Skype Chat.
It works with Microsoft’s Outlook and Exchange, Google and Apple’s iCloud calendars.
Genee was founded in 2013 by individuals with an enterprise background: former VMware director of product management and Jive Software product manager Ben Cheung, and former SpringSource principal engineer and VMware product manager Charles Lee. ®