Microsoft’s Outlook.com is a Huge Improvement Over Hotmail

Microsoft has relaunched its Hotmail with a new Metro interface and a new brand — Outlook.

The interface is Redmond’s best attempt yet to provide a clean and uncluttered webmail service, one that’s worth checking out even if you haven’t liked Hotmail in the past.

Microsoft’s moving in the right direction with both the new interface and brand name here. While Hotmail was loved by many in its heyday, over the years it became an object of ridicule, regarded as unprofessional, spammy, cluttered and simply just something to stay away from. (And while using your Hotmail address on your resume shouldn’t cost you a job opportunity, it’s hardly been the best way to impress potential employers.)

Undoubtedly aware of the negativity surrounding the Hotmail brand, Microsoft’s providing new email addresses with the domain Outlook.com. If you want one, you can sign up for it  using your existing Hotmail account, or simply register as a new user.

Outlook

A New Approach

The new Outlook isn’t an iteration of Hotmail. It’s a completely new and different service that doesn’t retain the slightest hint of its Hotmail origins. It’s simple (though the mail settings page still gives me headache), using a flat UI like Windows Phone and the upcoming Windows 8.

Being simple doesn’t mean that Outlook is slim on features. It comes with the Office Web app, SkyDrive, Skype and social networks integration, among others that I have yet to explore.

Having used Gmail myself for years, and having tried Yahoo Mail and Hotmail in the past, I’ve always regarded Gmail as the most usable and powerful webmail service. Outlook has changed my perception.

I still need more time to tell how powerful Outlook is compared to Gmail (I’m spoiled with filters and Gmail gadgets), but judging on aesthetics alone Outlook is winning. It’s a viable alternative to Gmail, and it will be interesting to see how the competition changes things the slow-moving — and even boring — part of the Web.

Microsoft is also taking a jab at Gmail by promising not to scan email bodies in order to display relevant ads, something Google never hesitates to do. In fact, Redmond reserved a section of Outlook’s promotional video just to diss Google’s service, calling it “old mail,” redundant and highlighting its creepy ads.

Game on.

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Comments

  1. BY Teckmea says:

    WoW! 1 million users in first few hours? That was so quick. Well, there is no doubt that Microsoft is best at marketing its products and services. After capturing a considerable chunk of HyperV’s and Cloud computing market from its great rivalry VMware. Now Microsoft’s 800 pound gorilla is ready to compete Google in this email client industry.

    The new features are cool, and worth switching back to MS’s re-branded Hotmail (which is Outlook.com).

    Also Here’s a nice blog explaining how and why Microsoft will dominate Hypervisors, VDI, Cloud & more in 2012:

    http://www.dincloud.com/blog/why-Microsoft-for-virtualization-explained

    If anyone is planning to write a blog or an article on how or why Microsoft will dominate this email hosting industry, please keep me posted.

    Thanks.

  2. BY charlie chaplin says:

    what improvement ? i just tried it.
    - still can not see tabs like yahoo mail. so that one can open multiple messages.
    - still doesnt have scrollbar like yahoo mail and you are limited to using next prev buttons.
    - still can not drag drop attachment files like yahoo mail.

    what do you think?

  3. BY Bob Drake says:

    There’s a serious bug in OUTLOOK.COM. I just signed up for an account, and sent three test messages. Each message included a TO, CC and BCC. All three copies of the message were sent to the address identified as TO, and no copies were sent to the CC or BCC!

    The addresses used were to different domains:

    myname@gmail.com
    myname@yahoo.com
    myname@uc.edu (my university address).

    I used a different TO address each time, and the same thing happened. I have three copies of the first message siting in the mailbox of the first address, three copies of the second message in the second address, and three copies of the third message sitting in the third address. ONLY the TO address received anything, and it received all three copies of the message each time.

    This is a pretty serious bug if you ask me!

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