Microsoft Hotmail, or shall we say Windows Live mail, is no more. Instead, in a major overhaul, Microsoft is reintroducing its email service as Outlook. You can get an @Outlook.com email address, or use your current MSN or Hotmail address if you are so inclined to access Outlook. You can also set up Gmail or your preferred email service to forward your mail to Outlook.com and import your contacts and messages
Changes made to Outlook include a cleaner look, fewer and less obtrusive ads, and connections to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The Outlook interface is designed to work on smartphones and tablets. This is a smart move from Microsoft, around 20 per cent of the time we spend on smartphones and tablets is emailing. Last but not the least, Outlook also delivers a few especially packed punches for the other king mail in the block, Google’s Gmail.
Gmail versus Outlook
The mail wars have started. If Gmail came with Google Docs, Microsoft is also including free Office Web Apps with its version of mail. App versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote lets you view and edit attachments without leaving your inbox.
Microsoft is also categorically stating that the company will not scan email content or attachments and sell this information to advertisers or any other company. The Redmond giant will also not show ads in personal conversations. Gmail on the other hand does use filters and algorithms to deliver context-based advertisements based on email content.
Chris Jones (Corporate vice president, Windows Live, Microsoft): And while Gmail and other webmail services like Hotmail have added some features since then, not much has fundamentally changed in webmail over the last 8 years.
Design changes include a header that has 60 per cent fewer pixels. There are 30 per cent more messages visible in your inbox in Outlook than the webmail most people are used to. There are no display ads or large search boxes that take up extra space. Outlook.com also uses Exchange ActiveSync, so it powers your mail, calendar and people experience on your smartphone, tablet, and the new Outlook 2013 Preview.
In the Outlook.com inbox, your personal email includes photos of your friends, recent status updates and Tweets that your friends may have shared with you. You will also be able to chat and carry on video conversations from the mail window itself.
Outlook.com automatically sorts your messages from contacts, newsletters, shipping updates, and social updates. Outlook comes with Sweep features that let you move, delete and set up rules. Outlook.com also comes with SkyDrive, so if you’re sending photos, documents, or just about any other file, you can now put them on SkyDrive and stop worrying about attachment limits.
Webmail was first introduced with Hotmail in 1996.