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Do you take meetings at local coffee shops? Do you like to step out of the office with colleagues, for a quick triple, venti, half sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato break? At the same time, do you obsessively schedule out every aspect of your day?
If you answered yes, you're in luck. At Microsoft's development conference in San Francisco today, Starbucks announced a new partnership with the tech giant: a Starbucks add-in for Office. Yep, you can now schedule your Starbucks breaks straight through Outlook. (There's no word yet on whether you can order a double half-caff from Excel, but we've got our fingers crossed.)
An Add-In You Need? No. One You Want? Maybe.
As a child of the 90s Pacific Northwest, I have a bit of a sweat spot for most things Starbucks and Microsoft. They are, after all, the hometown teams. But not even I can get too enthusiastic about a Starbucks Outlook add-in. It just seems a bit ... unnecessary.
According to the Verge, which announced the news today, the Starbucks add-in lets you schedule coffee meetings or send gift cards via Outlook:
The gift card interface appears at the side of the desktop Outlook email client, allowing users to pick a number of different gift cards to send to friends. Likewise, the calendar scheduling is similar so you can invite a friend to go for coffee, with an automatic link that will be sent so you can order ahead.
Alright, so it doesn't sound too bad. After all, if you do spend a lot of time over a cup of joe, you might as well invite someone via your Outlook scheduler, and comp their drink with a gift card while you're at it. But it's definitely not a must-have.
More Than Just Starbucks
Of course, the innovation here isn't really in the Starbucks scheduling. Rather, it's in Microsoft's attempt to make Office not just your de facto office software, but a major, integrated part of your entire life. (As well as the newest platform for app development.) Where else to start but with you calendar? You've already got your office meetings and reminders in there, why not use it to meet with the attorney from across the hall, or to catch up with friends?
Even Uber is jumping on the Outlook add-in bandwagon. You can now request an Uber in advance, and Outlook will create a quick reminder when your car is on its way.
Expanding the functionality of Outlook, and integrating it with other apps, does seem promising. Or at least interesting. Here's hoping that it turns out to be useful, instead of more Microsoft bloatware.
Either way, I'll see you at Starbucks next Tuesday at 3:45?
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