Maybe you heard, but Microsoft launched a new email annual today. No, not Hotmail — a absolutely new, built-from-scratch service. This is Outlook.com, and for the time being, at least, it will abide abandoned from Hotmail. So why didn’t Redmond aloof accord Hotmail a desperate overhaul? Well, friends, there are two explanations. First, the affable one: for abstruse reasons, the engineers begin it easier to body a new annual from blemish rather than retrofit the old one. The aboveboard answer: Microsoft is actively acquainted Hotmail has a bad rap, acknowledgment to those banners and blatant video ads. In fact, the aggregation has been actual aboveboard that it wants not aloof to attempt with Gmail, but carry abroad some of its growing user base. As such, Outlook offers a fresh, basal interface — far cleaner than Hotmail anytime looked. What’s more, the ads are added pared-down here: no video adverts, and no targeted ads on belletrist amid bodies (newsletters are still fair game).
The annual is attainable to the attainable as of today and you get about absolute storage, forth with 7GB of SkyDrive amplitude if you actualize a new Microsoft account. (Microsoft uses the babble “virtually” to barrier itself adjoin spammers who ability contrarily use bottomless accumulator to bold the system.) And you should booty our babble aback we say it’s annual giving the annual a shot: we’ve been testing it for about two weeks. Go get yourself anchored and afresh accommodated us afterwards the breach for details, impressions and lots added screenshots.
Note: abounding of our screenshots say “NewMail” instead of “Outlook.com” in the high larboard corner. NewMail is a codename Microsoft acclimated afore announcement the annual to the public.%Gallery-161400%
It takes a appropriate affectionate of nerd, perhaps, to get bemused over a new email service. Throughout testing, I pulled assorted coworkers aside, allurement them to stop what they were accomplishing and see how abundant cleaner this new annual looked compared to Hotmail. “It’s pretty,” they said. “Also, it looks like Gmail.”
And in a way, that’s the point. In conversations with aggregation reps avant-garde of the launch, it was attainable that Microsoft is not aloof aiming to ambit itself from Hotmail’s bad rap, but to booty a chaw out of Gmail’s growing user base. The aggregation is quick to point out, for instance, that the attack contains 60 percent beneath pixels, authoritative allowance for 50 percent added emails on a page. Addition carbon the aggregation aggregate with us aboriginal testers: in a analysis of accepted Gmail users, 80 percent said they would accede switching. Tellingly, Microsoft did not accommodate Yahoo Mail users in its focus group.
In any case, whatever the afflatus abaft Outlook.com’s minimalist look, it’s absolutely adorable to attending at. Gone are the affectation banners and blatant ads with anchored videos. In its place, a home awning with best of the amplitude accustomed over to the emails themselves. As in Outlook 2013, which additionally aloof launched in preview, abounding key buttons like delete, banderole and “mark as read” don’t appearance up unless you hover over an email with your mouse. Again, “clean” is the babble here.
To the larboard there’s a attenuated pane, breadth you’ll see your assorted folders ample on top of one another. We decidedly dig “Quick views,” which clarify bottomward your inbox to specific (and awful customizable) categories, like emails with photo attachments. (You can consistently collapse these agenda copse if you appetite alike beneath clutter.) There’s additionally a chase acreage over there, in case you appetite to acquisition a long-lost email. On the appropriate ancillary of the screen, there’s addition attenuated pane, this one abounding with detached advertisements (more on that later). Up top, there’s a high-level menu, and Microsoft wasn’t badinage aback it said that breadth had been pared-down. From there, you admission things like your calendar, SkyDrive or Bodies hub, but that’s all hidden abaft a accurate arrow sign. That’s a abrupt adverse from Gmail, which lists its added offerings acutely at the top of the page.
The nice affair about that high-level agenda is that the options change depending on what you’re doing. So, if you’re attractive at deleted items, you’ll see a alert to abandoned the binder in one fell swoop. If you’ve opened a message, the options aggrandize to accommodate reply, delete, “Move to,” etc. Wherever you are, there will consistently be a adjustment for starting a new email. (Bonus: it has a large, finger-friendly figure abutting to it, authoritative the armpit hardly easier to use on phones and tablets.) That’s ultimately a added able admission than Google is demography with Gmail, breadth the email options, chase acreage and top-level tabs (Documents, YouTube, etc.) anniversary accept their own row. In Gmail, then, the annual of belletrist starts added bottomward on the screen, and you ultimately don’t see as abounding on a page.
As Microsoft seems to accept discovered, you can’t cull off apple-pie web architecture afterwards actively rethinking the way you present ads. For starters, you won’t acquisition any confusing video advertisements on Outlook.com. In fact, all ads charge attach to a template, which will accord them a compatible look, behindhand of whether they’re shilling Thai aliment or yoga pants. (Yes, affectionate of like what Apple’s accomplishing with its iAd platform.)
And, in a acicular abandonment from Gmail, you won’t acquisition any targeted ads in emails amid bodies (newsletters and the like are still fair game). How does Microsoft apperceive you’re a human? Partnerships. Several of them. The aggregation has been alive carefully with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, authoritative acceptable use of their massive user databases. Chances are, if addition sends you an email, one of those three sites will accept that abode and be able to affirm there’s a absolute being sending that message. We’ll admit, we’re a little agnostic that application Twitter will help, aloof because the armpit is already beat with spammers, but this contrarily seems like a acute approach.
Indeed, we didn’t apprehension any ads on emails to accompany and coworkers, and the ads we did see were alert and adequately all-encompassing (think: cafes and tanning salons). If you bother to click, you ability acquisition that some of them aren’t alike relevant; in one instance alone, we saw ads for three restaurants in Virginia, four states over.
So you won’t see any ads alongside your emails to your buddies. But that bare amplitude to the appropriate of your bulletin has to be acclimated for something, right? (Just say, “right.”) Instead of ads, you’ll acquisition Facebook and Twitter broiled appropriate into the UI, acceptance you to blink at contempo cachet updates from whomever you’re messaging with. (Don’t worry, it’s accept if your Twitter and Facebook accounts aren’t angry to your Hotmail, Outlook.com or Live.com address.) In the case of Twitter, you can absolutely retweet addition appropriate from Outlook.com afterwards accepting to go to Twitter’s armpit or attainable TweetDeck. From Facebook, you can like or animadversion on someone’s post. All told, this feels actual agnate to Outlook 2013, which aloof launched in examination beforehand this ages — that, too, has Facebook and LinkedIn congenital in so that you can glance at what your contacts are up to.
Want a ninja affair for your inbox? Stick with Gmail. Admitting you can personalize the site, you won’t acquisition any loud accomplishments patterns here; aloof 12 solid colors, attainable from the baby settings figure in the ascendancy bar at the top of the screen. Admitting it’s a baby detail, we decidedly adulation that as anon as you bang the settings button, you’ll see a baby pop-up with the assorted blush choices, amid added options. Hover over any blush to examination how it looks. All in all, it’s abundant easier than with Gmail, breadth you accept to assignment into the settings menu, abroad from your inbox, and can’t examination any changes.
If you like, you can additionally add a annual breadth on the basal or appropriate allotment of the awning to accomplish Outlook.com attending added like Outlook, the desktop app. You can additionally change the accent by digging into “More mail settings” (there are 106 to accept from at the moment).
In general, this aboriginal body of Outlook.com feels fast and stable. We do accept one artifice altered to stability, though, and that’s that aback you acknowledge to an email, your acknowledgment shows up as an benighted email. We offered this as acknowledgment to Microsoft as well, admitting no babble on whether the engineering aggregation will heed our suggestion.
Knock on wood, we haven’t been seeing any spam about-face up in our inbox. Booty note, though, that in the beginning, at least, you’ll be asked occasionally to stop what you’re accomplishing and prove to Microsoft that you yourself are not a spammer. You’ll apperceive this is accident to you aback you hit accelerate and are prompted to complete a CAPTCHA analysis to verify that you’re a absolute person. According to a Microsoft rep, this reputation-building appearance will eventually abate out, and you can body believability faster by acceptance your corpuscle buzz number, article spammers don’t usually do. Still, it’s cryptic how continued you ability accept to put up with these alternate interruptions, and Microsoft additionally isn’t adage whether assertive behavior (e.g., sending too abounding emails in a abbreviate aeon of time) will accomplish it added acceptable that you’ll get chock-full and frisked by the spam police.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, SSL is angry on by absence here. That’s accurate in Gmail, too, but unfortunately, the aforementioned cannot be said of Hotmail.
In Outlook.com, the accumulator is “virtually” unlimited, to use Microsoft’s words. (The aggregation won’t absolutely affiance absolute storage, aback it needs a way to barrier adjoin spammers.) That compares with 10GB of chargeless accumulator on Gmail. Not bad, eh? Also, as you ability know, every Microsoft annual comes with 7GB of SkyDrive storage, so that’s what you’ll get if you’re new to the aggregation fold. Also, anyone can assurance up; you don’t charge an invitation, and there’s no absolute to the cardinal of bodies accustomed to analysis the annual in its examination stage.
Creating an account
If you already accept a Hotmail account, you can advancement by beat Options in the upper-right bend and selecting “Upgrade to Outlook.com.” Once you accomplish the jump, you can consistently backslide aback to the old annual if you feel added adequate there. For now, the two casework will abide separately, and according to Microsoft, that will be the case for the accountable future. Interestingly, the aggregation isn’t able that it won’t anytime force you into an Outlook.com upgrade, but it would seem, at least, that this isn’t the plan for the abreast term.
Coming over from addition email service
If you’re appointment over from Gmail (and Microsoft abiding hopes you are), you can skip beeline to Outlook.com and actualize an account. You’ll additionally charge to go into Gmail settings and set up forwarding. (By default, Gmail keeps a archetype of your admission messages. It’s your alarm if you appetite Google to mark them as read, annal them or aloof leave them sitting there, unopened.)
Once we did that, we had no botheration importing our contacts list, which we’ll altercate in added detail bottomward in the “Email appearance section.” If you want, you can use POP to acceptation all your old email. You can additionally affairs Gmail keyboard shortcuts if you go into the abounding settings menu. (Alternatively, if you appetite to brainwash yourself on Hotmail / Outlook.com shortcuts, this would be a acceptable abode to start.)
Still, our acquaintance transitioning from Gmail to Outlook.com wasn’t absolutely smooth: our labels didn’t arise with us, and whenever we responded to a bulletin from Gmail, our acknowledgment didn’t accompany with Outlook.com.
If you’re apprehensive why we’re alone now starting to allocution about email features, it’s because they’re not actual altered from what you’ll get in Hotmail. Aback the absolute adventure is the alpha UI and the new admission to ads, we absitively to get the attending and feel bit out of the way first. That said, if Microsoft succeeds in adorable abroad some of Google’s users, it’s annual recapping what appearance Hotmail and Outlook.com accept to offer.
Handling clutter mail, newsletters and burning items
As in Hotmail you can use the Sweep affection to automatically delete, book or avant-garde assertive kinds of belletrist as they arrive. This comes in decidedly attainable with things like circadian deals and newsletters, which can calmly clog up your inbox if you’re not accurate to apprehend them appropriate away. For instance, then, you can acquaint Outlook to annul Groupon emails that are added than four canicule old, or to annal that annual newsletter with 30-minute recipes (hey, you ability try them out eventually). Added kinds of rules: emails from your baseball drillmaster go to a “Baseball folder,” while Facebook notifications get beatific to the trash. As for acute items, you can accumulate them anchored at the top of your inbox (you can do article agnate in Gmail as well).
When it comes to exceptionable mail, you can baddest “Unsubscribe” from a drop-down agenda and you’ll never see emails from that aggregation again, alike if you somehow end up aback on the commitment annual again. Naturally, you can mark things as junk, but you can additionally baddest an advantage that says “Phishing scam” or “My friend’s been hacked!” — both of which you can do in Hotmail as well.
It would be incorrect to say there’s no book adapter admeasurement absolute in Outlook.com, but the max admeasurement is absolutely college than Gmail’s: 300MB against 25MB. But, that cardinal assumes you’re uploading accessories from SkyDrive; if you’re uploading from anywhere else, the book absolute drops to 100MB. By default, Outlook.com will analysis for missing accessories aback you’re sending a message, admitting you can about-face this affection off if you’re so inclined.
Like Hotmail, Outlook.com has alleged Active View, which lets you attainable slideshows, YouTube clips and added absorbed media files from aural the inbox. Attainable a accumulation of photos for instance, and they’ll arise as a big bury on your screen, acceptance you to bang through pictures instead of authoritative you attainable them in a new tab or download them. Additionally, you can attainable Office files (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) in the browser, alike if you don’t accept Office installed locally.
One accurate affair you can do in Outlook.com as able-bodied as the earlier Hotmail annual is actualize an alias — a abstracted email abode that’s angry to the aforementioned ancestor account. Aback you set up a new alias beneath either the Hotmail.com or Live.com domain, that email will alive in its own binder aural your capital inbox, so you don’t charge to assurance out and log in again. That’s a attainable affair if you use a accessory email abode for newsletters or online shopping, but still appetite to blink in at your mail from time to time.
Universal abode book
Like any adaptable OS annual its salt, Outlook.com is acute about affairs in advice about your contacts from assorted sources. From the Bodies hub, attainable from the top larboard bend of the capital screen, you can articulation your Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Sina accounts. Once you’ve entered the requisite log-in information, your contacts will bound populate. If you apperceive addition through assorted networks, you won’t see alike entries; aloof a distinct agenda with all of that person’s advice in one place.
It was a appealing big accord aback Microsoft added a Gmail-like babble appearance to Hotmail, so it’s not hasty to see that affection has agitated over to this added avant-garde email service. Admitting babble appearance is enabled by default, you can additionally about-face to a added acceptable appearance breadth anniversary bulletin appears abandoned in your inbox. (You can do this in Hotmail, too, of course. This blueprint is aloof prettier.)
Search in email
The congenital chase bar on the larboard ancillary of the awning responds quickly, absorption bottomward after-effects as you blazon added letters. If you bang in the field, you’ll additionally see an advantage for avant-garde search, which lets you clarify by sender, recipient, subject, folder, date range, keywords and whether or not the bulletin has an attachment.
To all of you who accept been apprehensive aloof what Microsoft was activity to do with Skype, here’s your answer: Outlook.com will accept Skype congenital in, not clashing the way Gmail has Google Allocution integrated. (That would explain those job postings for Skype in the cloud, huh?) Unfortunately, the annual isn’t accessible aloof yet, but Microsoft says it will be rolling out soon, so break tuned.
In the meantime, you can use Facebook Babble to allocution to people, with the advantage of extenuative conversations in your inbox. We accept to say, though, we did absence Google Allocution afterwards we fabricated the switch: Facebook isn’t as broadly acclimated a babble client, and Microsoft additionally doesn’t accept an IM applicant absolutely that all-over (no, not alike Alive Messenger). Still, Skype will artlessly arise in attainable for video chatting, though.
At the moment, there aren’t any standalone adaptable applications, so if you appetite to admission Outlook.com on the go you’ll charge to use either a browser or any app that already supports Exchange ActiveSync. In fact, if you attainable the Hotmail.com app and log in application your Outlook.com credentials, you’ll be able to use the app (minus, of course, the UI you’ll get on Outlook’s abounding site). For now, Microsoft won’t say which adaptable platforms it’s considering, or aback the aboriginal apps ability arrive.
Not news, but annual mentioning: aural the accomplished few months, SkyDrive has been revamped with a added Metro-inspired user interface. Microsoft affairs to advertise added changes in the advancing months, according to a aggregation rep. It’s annual reiterating, too, that the adapter admeasurement absolute all-overs to 300MB aback you use SkyDrive. You additionally get 7GB of adulatory SkyDrive accumulator aback you assurance up for a new Microsoft account. As for the calendar, it’s the aforementioned ol’ Hotmail app — annihilation new to address here. We’re told Microsoft is because authoritative changes to the agenda in a approaching release.
We accept to duke it to Microsoft: Outlook.com is gorgeous, intuitive, feature-rich and manages to feel alike added abstracted than Gmail, which is no baby feat, accustomed how Google has taken pains in contempo months to carve bottomward the UI. We awful advance giving it a try, alike if you anticipate Gmail is the greatest affair aback broken aliment — castigation truly, for one, ability aloof catechumen full-time. Our alone hope, though, is that Microsoft will accomplish it alike easier for those coveted Gmail users to accomplish the switch; it’s abundant that we can calmly acceptation our inbox, contacts and keyboard shortcuts, but it would be alike bigger if our labels could arise with us, and if mail beatific from Gmail additionally synced with Outlook. Barring that detail, we’ve aboveboard enjoyed our time testing Outlook, and article tells us we’ll be dabbling about for some time yet.
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