Windows 8 has finally arrived, and Microsoft is bringing a lot of changes with it. We’re now seeing the modern U.I. (formerly known as Metro), tons of native apps, and a unified experience across all Windows devices like we’ve never seen before. Microsoft is looking to offer many new services along with their new operating system, along with one that you can check out right now at Outlook.com.
The Outlook name is taken from the popular Microsoft email client, but make no mistake – this is a completely new web based email service, designed to take full advantage of Windows 8. Outlook.com borrows from some of the best features found in Hotmail – namely, Sweep and Scheduled Cleanup, which take care of inbox clutter ahead of time by allowing you to create rules and categories for the client to follow, organizing your inbox and presenting you with only the most important messages. Those features are just the tip of the iceberg for Outlook.com, though.
The look and feel of Outlook.com is in line with what Windows 8 is offering. Panes containing your contacts, inbox, and settings can be brought on screen and pulled away at will, leaving you with only the information you want to see on-screen. And, since we’re talking about Windows 8, you can rest assured that Outlook.com has been designed with touchscreen use in mind. As a matter of fact, the site is both iPad friendly and Windows 8 tablet friendly.
Amongst Outlook.com’s panes, the most intriguing one might be contacts – otherwise known as the People pane. People isn’t limited to your email contacts. Instead, it integrates with all of your social contacts – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all on board. Better yet, you can send Facebook messages, view the latest Tweets from your contacts, and send Windows Live Messenger messages right from Outlook.com. Furthermore, contact information is updated the minute someone changes their information on any of their social media accounts – so you don’t have to do a thing to keep all your contacts data updated and in sync. Skype integration isn’t up and running yet, but when it is, Outlook.com will be a complete social media dashboard for your computer.
Microsoft’s new cloud storage service, SkyDrive, is also integrated in Outlook.com, along with several Office web app utilities like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. You can create, edit, and send documents all from within Outlook.com, eliminating the need for large attachments. Plus, every SkyDrive offers 7 GB worth of free storage, that you can use for documents, pictures, and videos. This, along with video chat integration via Skype, will make real-time collaboration using Outlook.com a snap. You can look forward to improved calendar integration, too.
There is one more way Outlook.com is setting itself a part from the rest of the pack – privacy. Microsoft doesn’t rely on ad revenue to the extent that other tech companies do, meaning that they won’t be scanning your emails for the purposes of creating targeted advertisements. You’ll be able to use your email client and feel like maybe Big Brother isn’t watching you as closely as before. Ads will still be there, on the rightmost pane, but they’re replaced with a contact’s recent social media information (Tweet, Facebook updates, etc.) when you open an email from them. The only other place you’ll see ads is when viewing an email that is not from a personal contact.
If you’re having trouble keeping up with all of your social contacts these days, Outlook.com, promises to pull all of that information into one place. It’s an all-new, inclusive approach to email, and if you have more social networking accounts than you can keep up with, you owe it to yourself to at least give Microsoft Outlook.com a shot.
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 story has been brought to you by Microsoft. All opinions are 100% our own.