Say goodbye to Hotmail and say hello to outlook.com, Microsoft’s attempt at reinventing email and their official bet to challenge Gmail.
As it is, Gmail is still the king of email even with the Scroogle campaign of Microsoft. But still, it looks like they could be given a run for their money with Outlook.com.
There are just too many things about this new email platform that make it hard to ignore. And now that it is available to the public, expect a lot of Gmail users to give it a try. In fact, here are some things you will like about this new free email:
The minimal design
The first thing I thought of when I first opened Outlook is how clean it looks. The interface kind of reminds you of Gmail but much fresher. The white space gives users an uncluttered screen that is very easy on the eyes. The only part of the interface that is sort of color heavy is the title bar, which you can even customize to different colors. It also includes a reading pane feature that is very useful for scanning messages.
If you do not ever want to see any ads on Outlook, you can simply pay $19.95 to upgrade your account to an ad-free one. My advice, don’t bother upgrading because you hardly notice the ads anyway. First, the ads come in small non-eye grabbing boxes on the right. Second, if you integrate your account on Facebook or Twitter, updates will cover the ads anyway. What’s more of a selling point that they used against Google, however, is that they promised that they won’t go through your emails for targeted advertising. You can either set your preferred ad topics or get random ads instead.
Skydrive and social media integration
It has great integrations with many social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn. Get your social media contacts migrated in your email. The way you see your contacts’ pictures appear on their email is a nice touch. It also works smoothly with SkyDrive, allowing you to sync your files online. This also allows you access and the ability to edit those files in Outlook via your PC or even your RingCentral business phone.
Integrated photo and YouTube video viewer
No more need to download files just to view pictures and videos. If an email sent to you is from a known contact, you can view the pictures as a slideshow instead. If there is a YouTube link included in the mail, you can view it through a player that will pop up.
Organizing your messages is easier and more fun with Outlook. First, there’s the menu that instantly appears whenever you hover into a message. This allows you to mark the message as unread, flag it, or even delete it. Second, it also has a unique filtering system that allows you to categorize your messages without putting them in separate folders from the inbox. This way, it is easier to sort through messages without having to comb through multiple folders.
There are other features that you will love about Outlook, but these are enough to make me a fan.