Outlook.com: A Cleaner Hotmail

With the arrival of instant messaging many years ago, and more recently social media networks, people thought that the death of e-mail would be coming inevitable soon. Big players such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (just to name a few) tried to resuscitate e-mail by increasing attachment size, providing unlimited storage and integrating e-mail closely with other products helping e-mail celebrate its 40th birthday (that's a millennium in Internet years!). In my opinion the complete overhaul in webmail also helped e-mail face off against its competitors.

My first ever webmail account was a Hotmail account (I believe I signed up back in 1998). I then went through several other providers before settling with Gmail. Why? Hotmail's SPAM filtering is really bad compared to Gmail, the URL structure isn't bookmark friendly (yes you can bookmark a Gmail conversation) and the interface was simply horrible. However, it looks like Hotmail may just be giving Google a run for their money with their new interface: Outlook.com

As the name suggests, the new web interface shares the same new as Microsoft's e-mail client Outlook. The Outlook web interface is not the new face of Hotmail and it has come with several new features (clean look, Twitter and Facebook integration, office and no ads).

I was quite surprised to see how CLEAN the Metro interface looked! Compared to the old interface, there is really no comparison. Almost like a breath of fresh air. It's even much cleaner than Gmail's interface.

Composing e-mails is more comfortable as well. I really liked the clear separation between the sections where you add recipients, compose your message and either send, save or cancel your message. This was also the first time I bothered trying out a smiley :-p!

Similarly to Gmail, the new Outlook interface also has that floating toolbar (reply, delete, junk, move etc…) that follows as you scroll through your email.


Until now, Outlook has been just another e-mail interface. This is where it is truly different: it allows you to connect to your other online accounts. This connection will also apply if you have linked Windows 8 to your Microsoft account. At the moment I checked I had Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr and Google. I have seen other people also have YouTube as an account integration option.

If for some reason you do not like your Hotmail account dressed up in the Outlook interface, you can simply revert back to the old interface by clicking on the settings (the wrench). I see no reason why someone would want to go back to the old interface though (I very, very rarely use Hotmail anyway)!

Is e-mail dead, definitely not in Microsoft's opinion since they are providing more than just e-mail thanks to allowing integration with other accounts you use around the web. Would I start using Hotmail again? Not in the near future, my Gmail account is my main account and change is something difficult ;-). I might consider it if Microsoft really improved their SPAM filtering algorithms which is one area that hasn't changed in my opinion.

Long live e-mail!



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