The sixteen years old Hotmail is no longer so hot as Microsoft introduced a more intuitive, beautifully designed and faster web-email service Outlook.com on July 31, 2012 which is ready to give tough competition to Gmail . With the upcoming release of Windows 8 (on Oct 26), Microsoft has launched Outlook.com which has adapted the name from it’s prominent desktop email client which will eventually replace hotmail.
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If you have used Hotmail, the first thing that you would like about Outlook is that you already know how to use it. All your emails, junks, drafts, contacts and other files will be intact with few added advantages. Those who already have Hotmail or Live account and want to move to Outlook.com can click “Upgrade to Outlook.com” in the options menu. Currently Hotmail users are not forced to switch to Outlook and there is no news on when or if Microsoft will pull the plug on Hotmail. Microsoft did not reserve existing Hotmail account names on the new domain, so if you have [email protected] or [email protected] you are not automatically granted for [email protected], so grab your desired name on Outlook before it’s too late. Although the new Outlook is armed with a lot of new features however here are a few that we liked:
Better User Interface:
Outlook’s new user interface is clean, fresh, clutter free and 30% more emails are visible in the inbox than other web-mails. The top menu bar has 60% less pixels and I did not find any display ads or large search boxes which decreases the load time. The layout is somewhat similar to Gmail as the Inbox and message folders are on the left hand side and menu shortcut dominating the top line bar. Like its desktop client, Outlook.com also has the same feature of preview pane which lets you scan emails before you fully open it. By hovering over an email, some buttons appear which lets you delete or flag the message and also you can make a message as read or unread. Flagging a message lets you mark it as important and all the Flagged messages will be displayed before all other messages. Contacts are searchable, with results appearing almost instantly as you type and as always you can also change the color of page according to your wish.
Social Networking Features
Like Gmail’s instant messaging client (G-talk), Outlook will let you chat using Windows’s Live Messenger. You can initiate a conversation on Facebook right from the Outlook’s mail client if you have imported your contacts from Facebook. Another added feature is that you would be able to see status updates from Facebook and Twitter with a nice floating pop up. Along with Facebook you can also import contacts from Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.
This is one of the best feature that outlook has adopted. Their desktop client Outlook had this option however Hotmail lacked it, which was very disappointing. Now you can create different folders for friends, family, work and get the emails right into them. You can not only create folders but set specific rules which will define how the email will be forwarded to those folders, which will be a great help getting rid of the unwanted emails. Now you even don’t have to unsubscribe from those websites which you by mistake opted for. It sends them automatically to trash the moment they come in.
On one hand Microsoft has decreased the storage capacity from 25 GB (Hotmail) to 7 GB(Outlook) however on the other hand have added a new feature of Skydrive which will put an end to the problem of sending large files. Most of the email services allow an email attachment of only 25 MB, however Outlook will automatically upload all those files which exceed this limit to Skydrive and will be sent as a skydrive link . You can also download the Skydrive app to you Windows and synchronize it online to store files, photos and use them wherever you go.
Integrated Skype Calling:
Skype’s Video chat and voice service will also be integrated with Outlook which Microsoft purchased for $8.5 billion a year ago. Users will be able to do video chat right from their email portal which would certainly enhance the overall experience. However the date has not been announced for the release of this feature.
- The new outlook also incorporates with Office Web Apps, which makes the process of sharing Word documents, PowerPoint slide decks, and Excel workbooks much more seamless.
- Just like Google has integrated Gmail for Google +, Microsoft is collaborating Outlook.com with Facebook since Microsoft has a minor stake in Facebook.
- Outlook automatically recognizes newsletters and other ads and tags them.
- For newsletters that don’t contain an obvious unsubscribe link, the new Outlook adds a universal unsubscribe feature at the bottom of the message, so unsubscribing from junk emails are not a problem anymore.