Microsoft blogger Chris Jones reports that among other Cloud projects, MS has been hard at work “on a mission to reimagine personal email,” – from the datacenter all the way to the user experience. Today, we’re starting to deliver on that goal withand has launched a preview of the new Outlook.com – a major overhaul of its HoTMaiL service Gmail, drawing on the feature set of its popular Outlook desktop email client application for PCs and Macs so that in addition to the desktop application and a service for businesses, Outlook is available as a personal email service – Outlook.com.
Jones notes that despite the “death of email” having been predicted for years, it still represents 20% of the time average users spend on smartphones, and is used extensively on tablets and PCs as well. Outlook is designed to be “Cloud first,” so all of your mail is always available wherever you are. Its clean user interface gets the clutter out of your way with the header having 60% fewer pixels allowing for For more information, visit: rcent more messages to be visible in your inbox than the webmail most people are used to. Nor are there display ads or large search boxes taking 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.
The Outlook.com preview is also claimed to be the first email service connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and soon, Skype, to bring relevant context and communications to your email. In the Outlook.com inbox, your personal email can include photos of your friends, recent status updates and shared Tweets, the ability to chat and video call – all powered by an up-to-date contact list connected to your social networks.
Jones notes that 50% of the email in a typical inbox these days is newsletters and another 20% is social network updates, which conmtributes to email overload and the burdensome feeling that it’s a chore to “do email.” Outlook.com automatically sorts your messages from contacts, newsletters, shipping updates, and social updates, and with its Sweep features you can move, delete and set up powerful rules in a few, simple clicks so you can more quickly get to the email you really want.
People also use email to share photos and work together on documents. So Microsoft have included free Office Web Apps — Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote – that let you view and edit attachments without leaving your inbox. And Outlook.com comes with Microsoft’s SkyDrive Cloud storage service, 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.
Taking an obvious shot at Gmail, Microsoft pledges to not scan your email content or attachments and sell this information to advertisers or any other company, and we Outlook.com doesn’t show ads in personal conversations. It lets you decide whether to connect your account to social networks, and which ones you want to use – with you in control of who you friend or follow. If you’re a power user who wants to really fine tune your inbox, you can create your own categories, folders, and rules to tailor Outlook.com to your preferences.
Outlook.com also comes with the features you’d expect from any email service – an inbox with virtually unlimited storage, spam protection, and account protection powered by your Microsoft account, is claimed to work great with the Outlook desktop application, and it’s free.
If you want to check out the preview, you can get an @Outlook.com email address, or optionally get started with your current Hotmail, MSN, or LIVE email address if you prefer. If you’re already a Hotmail user and want to upgrade to the Outlook.com preview, you can just click “Upgrade” in the options menu of Hotmail. Your email address, password, contacts, old email, and rules will remain unchanged, and you can send/receive email from your @hotmail.com or @msn.com or @live.com address, while experiencing it all in the new Outlook.com preview user interface. You can also add an @Outlook.com email address to your account if you want.
Gmail, Yahoo, or other email service users can try the preview by going to http://www.outlook.com/. If you have a Microsoft account, just log in and get started. If you don’t, it’s easy to create a new account with an @Outlook.com email address. You can set up Gmail or your other email service to forward your mail to Outlook.com and import your contacts and messages by following these instructions, and allow you to continue using both services, but Microsoft hopes that over time, most people will prefer Outlook.com.
Once you’re using Outlook.com, you can also set it up on your phone (Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or other phone), tablet (Windows 8, iPad, and Android), in the new Outlook 2013 Preview, or in other mail apps you might use. And because Outlook.com supports Exchange ActiveSync, you can set it up just like you would your Exchange or Hotmail account.
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