Your Microsoft Outlook calendar is going global

Your Outlook calendars could soon be more organized than ever thanks to a new update from Microsoft.

The company has revealed an upgrade to its email service that will allow users to display a second calendar type.

In the official entry in the Microsoft 365 roadmap, the company notes that users will have “a variety of global calendars” to choose from. This could mean that the likes of the Chinese lunar calendar, Indian calendar and the Islamic calendar will soon be available as options within Outlook, so certain holidays or observances are not missed.

Outlook calendars

The feature is still listed as “in development” for the time being, but Microsoft has included a preview release for March 2022, and a scheduled general release for May 2022, so users should be able to benefit within the next few weeks.

When it does release, the update will be available to all Outlook Web users across the world.

The news is the latest in a series of recent updates announced for Outlook as Microsoft looks to make the service an ideal partner for hybrid working.

This includes the ability to browse and reserve meeting rooms on a work phone, meaning you won't be caught without a space ahead of an important meeting. Previously, Outlook users had to search for available meeting rooms using the desktop app or another alternative system implemented by their company, so this offers a significant upgrade.

A separate update entitled “working hours and location” will allow users to set a notice showing where they are working, whether that be at home, in the office, or anywhere else in particular, giving managers more visibility on where their key employees are.

The company is also planning on adding Microsoft Editor functionality on mobile platforms, signalling an end for embarrassing spelling and grammar mistakes on smartphones, as well as adding text predictions to Outlook for Android and iOS.

And in a bid to add a bit more vibrancy to what can be quite a dull platform, another upgrade will soon let users customize the color of the events in their calendar app, letting them not only liven up the view, but also create better distinction and visibility into their working week.

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Global ecommerce payments are set to soar in the next few years

The value of global ecommerce payment transactions is on track to exceed $ 7.5 trillion by 2026, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

This represents a growth rate increasing by 55% over the next five years, with the sector previously valued at $ 4.9 trillion in 2021.

Retailers offering omnichannel retail experiences are highlighted as the main driver of this growth, which over time, will increase user ecommerce spend, the analyst firm claimed, as omnichannel retail provides end users with the ability to access retail services, including sales and customer support, via multiple channels. 

Ecommerce spend rises

The report also predicts that ecommerce payments, including online, mobile and physical retail locations will all contribute to the sector’s growth, as users expect the same services to be available irrespective of the channel.

Juniper Research states that there is an increase in appetite for new payment methods within eCommerce checkouts, including Open Banking-facilitated payments and digital wallet one-click checkout buttons. 

“Merchants should ensure payment options match changing user expectations, or they will be rapidly left behind”, it added.

Amongst other insights, the study additionally found that by 2026, China will account for over 37% of global ecommerce payments by transaction value, which will provide ecommerce website users easier access to alternative payment methods.

Physical goods sold on ecommerce platforms will account for 82% of the global ecommerce payments transaction value in the next five years, with Juniper Research highlighting that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to aid the growth of online shopping globally.

With that in mind, Juniper Research highlights that alternative payment methods that integrate fixed installment plans and flexible credit in ecommerce check out options will continue to capitalize on this growth.

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Zoom thinks it can help the fight against global terrorism

Far from just allowing users to stay in touch with family and friends around the globe, Zoom now also wants to tackle online terrorism.

The video conferencing giant has announced it is joining the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) alongside the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and Meta.

“It is our responsibility to support our users and protect them against online threats,” Josh Parecki, Zoom's associate general counsel for trust and safety, told Reuters. “By collaborating with other leaders across the industry, sharing key learnings and advancing research, we aspire to make the digital world a safer place for all.”


Formed by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube in 2017 following a spate of deadly terrorist attacks across Europe, GIFCT says its mission is “to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms.” 

Now numbering 18 companies following Zoom's addition, the NGO was initially focused on sharing technical collaboration to combat online extremism, but has since expanded to managing a hash-sharing database.

This allows members to share unique “hashes” – records of original content that have had to be removed from their platforms or services following extremism concerns.

These hashes are then used by other GIFCT members to identify if similar content has been uploaded to their platforms.

In a statement, GIFCT Executive Director Nicholas Rasmussen said it was delighted to have Zoom as a partner. He noted that the group's mission “requires we work with a diverse range of companies …to develop cross-platform solutions that render terrorists and violent extremists ineffective across the Internet”.

After an initial surge in popularity and an explosion in user numbers at the start of the pandemic, Zoom came under heavy criticism for failing to secure its platform. 

Following several high-profile “Zoombombing” incidents where outside parties were able to gain access to Zoom calls without permission, the company carried out a major upheaval of its security protections.

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