Staying on the Right Side of Privacy

The Microsoft Office 365 app Delve curates all your relevant business documents in one place for you. It uses machine-learning to connect related documents, conversations, and people around you.

According to Microsoft, “Delve knows what’s relevant to you based on insights delivered through Office Graph to map the relationships between people, content, and activity that occurs across Office 365.” But how does all this sharing work? Are documents safe?

Sharing is Caring

When you work, share, and connect with others, Microsoft Delve watches what you do within the Office 365 environment. It compares what you’re doing with your team members. Is there overlap? Delve will decide to share the files both of you recently opened.

It might be kind of strange at first. Microsoft is following everything you do. The more people share and collaborate, the more accurate Delve gets. It’s making suggestions about what might be relevant to you. It’s matching what you do against what everybody else is doing to see if there are similarities. It’s not spying on you. Delve is using pattern-recognition to help you. Here are the most common questions people ask about Delve.

Tell me 3 cool things I can do with Delve

The power of Delve is that it can deliver what’s most interesting to you right now. Try these 3 things:

  1. Click a team member’s name or picture to see the documents they’re working on.
  2. Search for a topic. You might be interested to see how many things your team members are working on that match.
  3. If your search turns up a relevant document, add it to a board so you can find it again later.

Are my documents safe in Office Delve?

Yes. Delve shares what it can, but it never oversteps your right to privacy. No one else can ever see your private documents. The most that others can see is that you modified a document. If you pull up Delve on your screen, you’ll see your private documents as well as documents that others can access. Don’t freak out. What you’re seeing on the screen isn’t what others see. Others only see documents they have access to.

Who can see my documents?

If it’s a private document, only you can see it. You’ll know it’s a private document because it’ll be marked with a padlock icon.

If you want to share it with someone, you can unlock it for him or her.

But Delve says my private document has been viewed a bunch of times!

Yes, it has. By you. Only you can see your document if you haven’t shared it with other people. The number of views you see is the number of times you’ve opened the document.

Can others see what documents I’ve viewed?

Only if they’re looking at your screen over your shoulder. Private means private. There’s no way anyone can get information about these documents.

If you share a document, other people can see that you’ve modified it. That’s all they can see.

What happens if I don’t want to be a part of Delve?

You can’t turn it off completely if your organization uses Delve, but you can turn off sharing. Other people won’t see any documents if they go to your page in Delve. They’ll only see your profile information. You also won’t be able to see other people’s activities or documents in Delve. You can only view their profile information.

Microsoft’s Machine Learning Experiment

This is pattern-recognition for business. When you and your team members view, edit, and share documents, Delve learns from your collaboration. It tailors information to each of you on your personalized home page.

What you see in Delve is different from what your colleagues see. Don’t worry. Your documents are safe!

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