While preparing for the upcoming availability of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has made changes to yet another product to bring it in line with the Metro interface on these platforms, namely Hotmail.
Today, Microsoft’s online service can be upgraded to Outlook.com with a single click, providing users with a brand new interface, as well as with a nice range of features meant to offer a better experience with their emails.
Hotmail has been around for the past 16 years, with various upgrades and improvements being added over time, but with only few fundamental changes.
The preview version of Outlook.com, however, changes all that, marking a break from the past and bringing to the web the popular desktop application in the form of a personal email service.
Outlook is already the most popular application for reading emails, with features that enable users to also manage their calendars and connect to people.
It is also available as a Web application connected to Exchange Server, making it easier for business employees to access their work email while on the go.
With Outlook.com, however, Microsoft seems determined to provide all people with a free, modern email service.
Some of the main features the preview version of Outlook.com comes with include:
- Modern experience for modern browsers and devices: A fresh, clean user interface that’s intuitive, works across your devices with Exchange ActiveSync and gets the clutter out of your way with 60 percent fewer pixels in the header and 30 percent more messages visible in your inbox. Plus, no display ads or large search boxes that take up extra space.
- Connected to friends and co-workers, wherever they are: Outlook.com preview is connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and soon, Skype. You can view pictures of your friends, messages, status updates, chats and calls – all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is similarly connected to those networks.
- Smart and powerful: Outlook.com automatically sorts your messages from contacts, newsletters, shipping updates and social updates, and with Sweep, you can move or delete them in a few clicks. Plus, the service includes free Office Web Apps – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, as well as SkyDrive.
- Puts you in control: Has great tools for power users and keeps your personal mail personal (no ads in person-to-person emails and no scanning your personal mail to serve ads)
Hotmail / Live users who would like to try out Outlook.com can simply upgrade to it through hitting the settings button on their landing page and selecting to upgrade.
All those who will take the new service for a spin are encouraged to provide feedback on their experience, so that additional enhancements are delivered before the final product is made official.