Microsoft has released a preview of it’s next web mail service Outlook.com, that is a successor for the Microsoft Hotmail service. Outlook.com is the same name the popular Office desktop client Outlook uses, don’t confuse as today’s announcement is for the new webmail Outlook.com
Outlook.com or simply Outlook from here is a more user friendly, clean version of the Hotmail service. Microsoft has not revamped Hotmail from long, instead of fiddling with that Microsoft has released the preview of the new version as Outlook, this is a personal/consumer product. The new design took elements from the Windows 8 Metro design, if you have used Windows 8 Mail app this looks familiar with the same design principles.
The interface is simple, clutter free and focuses on the email with out too much information thrown around. The sidebars, top title bar look slim and offers plenty of space to focus on your emails, the right side bar will display ads but they are unobtrusive so far.
Some of the features it brings in include Photo slideshows inside Outlook for photo emails. You can also view or edit Office related documents including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can also access SkyDrive from Outlook, which comes in handy to share photo albums of large files with your contacts.
Outlook is also connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and soon Skype calling will be added to it. Upto date information about your connections will be pulled to your address book from your contacts social information. With the Skype integration users can now call their friends from within Outlook even if Skype desktop client is not installed.
Soon Hotmail users might be asked to move to Outlook, but for the moment Hotmail lives. You can sign-up for the Outlook by going to the Outlook.com site. If you have a Hotmail or Live email address you can upgrade to the new preview by going to Options and clicking “Upgrade to Outlook”. You can also get the @Outlook.com address if you like.
Outlook is a welcome change from Microsoft, with the new simple and clean interface finally Microsoft is going to give a tough fight to Gmail. But it will have hard time in convincing users to switch from Gmail to Outlook.
[Via Office Blog]