In an office environment, you might be more familiar with a colleague's email address than their phone number or Skype name. This means that if you need to get in touch with them, you're more likely to send an email instead of walking over to their office or calling their phone extension.
Gmail found a way to solve the problem by putting chat services in its email client. Not only could you send a quick message, but you could have a video chat through Gmail, as well. Microsoft is trying to catch up with a new Send app, which works with Outlook.
Send works just like an instant messaging client such as Skype, where you simply type in your contact's user name and then send them a message. However, Send requires you to write down the recipient's email address before sending the message. From there, the app works just like any other simple messaging app. You can send short messages and even pictures to your co-workers.
Even though these appear as brief chats on your smartphone, they are viewed as a stream of emails when you look at the conversation via Outlook. This allows you to continue the conversation on Send through your Outlook email because of its continuous connection to Office 365.
For now, Send is only available on iOS devices in the U.S. and Canada, with further expansion to Android and Windows Phone soon. In addition, only Office 365 business and school emails are allowed in Send. Microsoft plans to expand the user coverage in the future, though. (There's perhaps a certain irony that Send is being released first on a non-Microsoft platform. Poor Windows Phone.)
Every message in Send complies with a company's email policies and is treated like a work email, so for IT pros, Microsoft is also working on implementing more controls to ensure that Send is being used for the right purposes in the workplace.
Send is a product of Microsoft's Garage team, which creates various apps for iOS, Windows, and Android devices. However, all of the created apps, including Send, are considered to be test balloons of sorts, so feedback is a must for the developers with each new app. Depending on its effect in the workplace, Send could be just another experiment, or it could be refined into a better app that not only can cater to office workers and students, but also to the general consumer.