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Microsoft launches Send, its email-based messaging app

The suggestion that Microsoft was working on a mobile app that made email exchanges feel more like a simple messaging to-and-fro first hit the headlines in May when the company accidentally posted details about it online.

Well, it’s available now, and it’s called Send.

Launched Wednesday, Send has been designed for “those brief, snappy communications,” enabling you to fire off short or urgent messages to friends and close co-workers without having to deal with formal email constructs. Or as Microsoft puts it: “With Send, there are no signatures, subject lines, or salutations required.”

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Explaining the thinking behind the app’s creation, Microsoft said in a post announcing the new offering that it wanted to “make conversations fast and fluid while keeping the people who are important to you at its core.”

It went on: “While tools like text messaging and IM are great for short messages, you often don’t have your co-worker’s cell phone number or an IM app on your work phone. And we’ve heard loud and clear from people at work, they want all their communications available in Outlook – even if they send them from other apps.”

So while Send feels much like a messaging app, you can select recipients by jumping into your email contacts and save all the threads in Outlook in case you need to check back later. These conversations can also be continued via Outlook, if you wish. However, Send doesn’t show all your emails, only those started in the app.

Starting a conversation takes no time at all – just tap on a contact and type out your message or swipe and choose a standard Quick Reply such as “On my way” or “I’ll get back to you.”  As with many messaging apps, you can also see when the other person is tapping out a reply – if they’re also using Send, that is.

Related: Hands-on with Google Inbox

Send certainly seems like a useful step toward streamlining the email experience and going by what we know, it looks like an app set to come in real handy for a lot of people – once it becomes more widely available, that is.

At launch, Send is an iOS-only offering for users based in the U.S. and Canada. What’s more, you’ll need an Office 365 business or school email account to take it for a spin. It’s disappointing that availability is so limited, but be patient – Microsoft says it plans to open it up to more users, and platforms, over time.