Goodbye, Hotmail. Hello, Outlook.com

Goodbye, Hotmail. Hello, Outlook.com

Summary: Microsoft's flagship mail service for consumers gets a new name and a "modern" Metro-style interface. Here's how to sign up for a preview and what to expect.

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A command bar at the top of the page provides access to commands as needed. If a command isn’t available in the current context, it’s not visible on the screen.

eb-new-outlook-command-bar

The preview pane (a feature that’s still experimental in Gmail even after eight years) lets you read and reply to messages without leaving the main screen. Action icons that appear when you move the mouse over an item in the message list let you file, delete, or flag the message with a single click or tap.

eb-new-outlook-action-icons-small

The new Outlook has some impressive mail management smarts built in. It automatically recognizes newsletters and other recurring types of mail. A Schedule cleanup option in the message header (also available on the command bar), lets you create rules on the fly that automatically delete or file similar messages to reduce clutter. You can specify, for example, that you want to keep only the most recent message from a “daily deals” site. You can also define how many messages you want to keep from a particular sender or automatically delete/file newsletters after a set number of days.

eb-new-outlook-schedule-cleanup-620

For newsletters that don’t contain an obvious unsubscribe link, the new Outlook adds a universal unsubscribe feature at the bottom of the message. When you select this option the web service sends an unsubscribe request on your behalf and creates a message-blocking rule.

One huge differentiator between old-school webmail services like Gmail is the new Unified Address Book in Outlook.com. It takes a page from Microsoft’s People hubs in Windows 8 and the Windows Phone platform to pull together your traditional address book—where you manage names and details—and combine it with social media services of which you’re a member.

eb-people-hub-new-outlook

The advantage, of course, is that you always have the most up-to-date contact information for friends and colleagues, assuming they update their profiles. The new Outlook does a pretty good job of combining records. If you have contacts that appear in multiple locations, you can manually link or unlink those records as needed.

Supported services include anything you can link to your Microsoft account, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr. You can import contacts from Google and Facebook if you want to keep them locally.

In terms of creating and sending photos and file attachments, the new Outlook integrates exceptionally well with SkyDrive, so that you can email large attachments and photo albums, storing them on SkyDrive with well-integrated links that the recipient can access with a click. The spec sheet says single attachments can be up to 300 MB in size. If they're stored on SkyDrive, you don't have to worry about the message being rejected by the recipient's mail service.

And of course, the service incorporates all of the Office Web Apps, which makes the process of sharing Word documents, PowerPoint slide decks, and Excel workbooks much more seamless.

On the back end, the interface for managing an email account is cleaner. You can still create aliases that you use for sites and contacts where you don’t want to share your real address. And if you just want to experiment with the new service, you can redirect your Gmail messages temporarily to the new account or sign in with an existing Hotmail or Live address. (I’ve had my Gmail account redirected to Hotmail for a year without problems.)

I’ve put together a screenshot gallery showing off some of the new features. (See "A guided tour of the new Outlook.com.") I’ll also be putting together a FAQ to help sort out your options for linking and forwarding existing email accounts.

Topics: Cloud, Microsoft, Software

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151 comments
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    • Newsworthy?

      Stay at the bakery and stick with your AOL.
      BigJohnLg
  • I didn't even know Hot Mail was still around.......

    If it is only Loverock Davidson uses it
    Over and Out
    • Um no. hotmail has more users than gmail or yahoo mail

      just fyi. google has been trying to inflate their numbers the last 6 months by trying to start counting all the android non users as users but no ones fooled by it. active users hotmail is still bigger.
      Johnny Vegas
      • Um no. hotmail has more SPAM BOTS than gmail or yahoo mail

        Fixed the subject title on your post for you.

        Hotmail is a cesspool for accounts used to send spam, which Microsoft undoubtedly counts as "active users".
        snu221
        • Because we all know that gmail and yahoomail are spambot free

          Sources please, or don't even bother
          milo ducillo
          • Ok

            http://www.customerservicescoreboard.com/Hotmail

            http://www.totaljobs.com/JobSeeking/Technical-Telesales---Electronic-Security_job54197389

            ""Important - Certain ISPs (Hotmail is the worst) will block business users and treat them as junk/spam."

            http://www.theinternetpatrol.com/hotmail-outage-as-server-goes-down-users-unable-to-access-email/

            http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/hotmailcom-c507365.html

            Being the total slave fanbui that you are, I have no doubt you'll find fault with these.
            CaviarBlack
          • Um, what did that prove?

            I love Black people and all (I'm not Black), but the links you provided were links about how Hotmail's security was weak, and how it's spam protection is weak. But milo ducillo was talking about Yahoo and Gmail specifically and he/she impied that they are not "spambot free" (though milo ducillo did not say it directly, commen sense tells us he implied it). The links you provided *Did Not* prove that Yahoo or Gmail are "spambot free". They merely were criticizing Hotmail and it's services. Before you responded, you should have heeded the word *free*, because no e-mail service is *100%* free. I myself have a Gmail account (for Youtube mostly) and I find quite a few replies on Youtube (from different people) in the spam folder when they're not supposed to be. But other than that, Gmail's spam protection is pretty good. BUT, I have had a Hotmail account about 1 year before I had a Gmail one and I have had NO spam. Why? I actually use Hotmail's spam filter "features". And yes you are right, I am using Windows and I have never got a virus on this computer too. Thank you, come again.
            Jabe124
          • Forget the stuff about the Black People

            It was late at night, I wasn't thinking straight. I hope I didn't screw the hole comment up.
            Jabe124
          • Edit

            I meant no e-mail service provider is 100% spam free. Even people have had some spam problems with Gmail despite it having good spam protection.
            Jabe124
        • Hmmmm

          Actually most spam I get is from Yahoo as Yahoo is making it harder to complain about a spammer unless you have a Yahoo account and the spam was sent there.
          Gisabun
      • I have 3 web-accessible email accounts...

        ... and not one of them is Hotmail. The author is perfectly correct that Hotmail's reputation is totally shot; it's more known for all the spambots, phishing schemes and simple hacked/stolen accounts than it is for reliable service despite its years in use. Personally I'd gotten to the point of setting a rule blocking all hotmail accounts because I never received ANY legitimate mail through it.

        The name and style change is obviously necessary given that reputation.
        Vulpinemac
        • hotmail

          I've been using Hotmail for many years. Not a prob.
          olcro_2000@...
        • Hotmail

          I have been using hotmail since 1995 and never had a problem with it. The only way someone sneaks on your putor is because you left the door open.
          rowhoe@...
      • And more

        You create an account on Youtube [for example] and they automatically create an account on Gmail, Google+ and others whether or not you asked [unless this has changed recently].
        Gisabun
        • One login for Google sites

          Because now Google+, YouTube; Piscia; et al is owned by Google, you can log into those sites without having to create a seperate account for each site. Which is handy.

          And I just realized this post I replying to is almost a year old... :/ At least it can be helpful...
          JustinCredible007
      • gmail

        Gmail is much better
        kailash.vyas-24735558909922163793932460048163
    • hotmail and live accounts are more safe than gmail

      I have 2 msn accounts from which first one is a 12 year old hotmail address which I use to IM with friends, another is a live.com account I opened 1 year ago to manage subscribe information from netflix and other online services.
      I had gmail account before and I liked the interface, but when I saw Google Street view cars stoling email addresses, passwords and other private information from un-secured Wi-Fi sopts I canceled my gmail account. Today I trust hotmail and live.com accounts only.
      Gabriel Hernandez
      • Am I Missing Something, Gabriel?

        How does the existence of Google Street View make Hotmail accounts safer than gmail? I don't see anything that supports your assertions.
        bkshort@...
        • Well

          Microsoft sells products, Windows, Office, SQL, Exchange.....etc. Hotmail being free is supported by money made by those other products.

          Google gives away all of its so called "products" for free. These "products" are really just tools to harvest YOUR INFORATION...........which is the real Google product.
          JeveSobs
          • JeveSobs ....So are you saying Google harvests your information ......

            If that is correct.......... than you should add to your post that Microsoft harvest all the rest ........like Malware, Spam and Viruses to be fair, wouldn't you say ?
            Over and Out