Microsoft today announced the launch of Microsoft Stream, a new service that people can use to upload and share videos with their work colleagues.

The new service, which is becoming available today in preview, will eventually converge with the existing Office 365 Video service so that the experience is consistent whether or not companies are using Office 365, James Phillips, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s business intelligence products group, wrote in a blog post. But for the moment today’s announcement will not mean anything to companies that currently use Office 365 Video, Phillips wrote.

“Starting today, anyone with a business email address can sign up for the preview in seconds and begin uploading, sharing and tagging videos in their organization,” Phillips wrote. “By taking the ‘work’ out of managing video storage and security, Microsoft Stream enables organizations and their employees to communicate and collaborate with video more easily.”

Of course, there are other systems for working with video in the business context, including YouTube and Vimeo. But Microsoft has the trust of many businesses, and the new service could appeal to a large group of organizations as a result, especially now that it won’t be limited to Office 365.

And it helps that, at least for now, it’s free.

Signing up takes just a few seconds, and uploading videos is as easy as dragging and dropping. There will be trending videos, a way to search for and like videos, and a way to follow channels and see new content on the homepage. Of course, it will be possible to embed Microsoft Stream videos into other websites “within your organization,” Phillips wrote. Over time, though, Microsoft figures that it will become possible for users to search for things within videos.

Microsoft is exposing Microsoft Stream application programming interfaces (APIs), and it will be possible for developers to put third-party apps that type Stream in the new AppSource business-oriented app store, Phillips wrote.


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