How exciting is email, these days? Remember when the sound of “You got mail!” brought elation and wonderment? Those days have unceremoniously fallen victim to ubiquity and drab repetition. Email is no longer compelling. It’s simply another tool we computing individuals have learned to take for granted. Additionally, some webmail solutions are ad-ridden message delivery services, which take little consideration in the various ways you share information with friends and colleagues.
Microsoft takes aim at your humdrum webmail with the new Outlook.com webmail service. Outlook.com is a new way to email that elegantly incorporates traditional input recognition, touch (yes, that includes Windows 8), social networking integration, mobile device support and ample cloud storage.
The new Microsoft Outlook.com was designed from the ground up to be both aesthetically pleasing and intuitive, with many familiar use mechanics and a single command bar. The command bar is your hub for all actions. It responds to your behavior and only offers relevant commands based on your actions.
You and I know, sending attachments is one of the most common actions done in email. Most services put a cap on the file sizes that can be emailed. But Outlook.com offers SkyDrive and 7GB of cloud storage for every account. It allows you to send a traditional email, but with an embedded link to the file, instead of a bulky attachment. Images are also visualized in the email, so recipients can see what is sent without being subjected to downloading and opening its contents. It’s just there to see quickly, at a glance. Of course, the recipient can then click the link to download the attachment contents. Everything is safe and secure. Plus the email size is kept to a minimum, ensuring safe and quick downloads for the recipient.
Outlook.com is also not an ad service. Competing services unashamedly rummage through your emails in an attempt to seed your webmail environment with highly targeted ads. These advertisements are based on keywords and info pulled from your email conversations. It’s a bit intrusive, yes. So, Outlook.com sacrificed this enormous advertising opportunity to make sure your conversations remain private and untapped. The ads in Outlook.com are visually discreet and are only targeted if you voluntarily provide personal information, like sex, age, location, etc. to your profile. It’s definitely a customer-centric approach to your information and privacy.
Beyond privacy, Outlook.com intelligently accommodates numerous ways you share information. Connect your email address book to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn and other accounts. Now you’ve got all your contacts, across your favorite social platforms, in one nice tidy location. It simplifies contact management and subsequent information exchanges needed in an intuitive and transparent manner. If the contacts in your email address book are also Facebook and Twitter acquaintances, then their recent activity on the social networking platforms you’ve connected your account to will appear unobtrusively in your Outlook.com email space. Even Facebook profile images are pulled and updated accordingly based on a given friend’s Facebook activity. Managing contacts and digesting updated social networking timelines can cut into your productivity. This is a powerful feature for workaholics and multitaskers looking to save valuable time.
We all know, that even with all these features, sometimes sending a text-based email just isn’t enough. Fear not! Outlook.com will soon support Skype voice and video calls right in your Outlook.com webmail environment. If your friends don’t use Outlook.com, don’t worry. All they need is an active Skype account to receive your calls. The integration will be seamless, robust and massively useful for quick conference calls or just chatting socially with friends and family. Skype is in the process of being integrated and is launching soon.
But when it’s time to get back to solitary work, Outlook.com does not leave you in the lurch. This do-it-all webmail dynamo makes full use of Microsoft Office Web Apps–for free. Open and edit documents in Word, Excel and PowerPoint from anywhere you access the internet. This alone is a game changer as no conversion tools or additional plugins or apps are needed. Just open and edit online, or connect to documents on your desktop if working from your computer in order to collaborate with others. It’s a massive help for version control on projects with lots of stakeholders.
Outlook.com may change the way you email. But it also retains many tried and true features users have come to love from Hotmail. The Sweep and Scheduled Cleanup features make their return for cutting through your graymail and organizing your messages that matter most. We’ve all spent tedious time weeding through spam and useless messages, which clutter our inboxes. Outlook.com presents trusted, easy-to-use features to make organization simple and customizable with just a few clicks.
There you have it! It’s the new Outlook.com–a powerful email solution, which gathers the best of your social networking and business computing in one stylish and intuitive web-based environment. Remotely access, edit and empower your life.
Outlook.com is a preview of modern email from Microsoft. It has a fresh and intuitive design, connects your email to useful information from Facebook and Twitter, and gives you a smarter inbox with the power of Office and SkyDrive. Visit Outlookpreview.com to learn more and connect with us at @Outlook on Twitter.
This post is sponsored by Microsoft Outlook.com, but all opinions are my own. Please see our sponsored post policy.