How new Outlook just made my Gmail usable again

How new Outlook just made my Gmail usable again

Summary: Hotmail's got a new name and some fresh paint, but best of all, it's made Gmail usable again

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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The decision to phase out the Hotmail-branded email service is a smart one on Microsoft's part.

It shakes off the legacy of spam-ridden inboxes that Hotmail was known for in its early life, a perception that prevailed despite the fact that the company went to some lengths to address the issues, and conjures up the idea of a service with reliable heritage. After all, the Outlook brand has been around a long time.

Outlook
Outlook.com has the unintended side effect of making Gmail more usable. Image credit: Ed Bott

But aside from all the features the freshly launched Outlook service boasts, one thing in particular has convinced me to give it a whirl. You already know that I like the Metro interface, and despite the many fine desktop email clients, I prefer a cloud-based option.

Like most people I have countless email addresses, but Gmail is my provider of choice for my personal account. But despite Google's best efforts to keep it relatively spam and junk/newsletter free, over the years it's become a bit daunting. I mean, there are thousands of unread emails that I never need to see. Just sitting, waiting to be filtered and deleted.

On top of that I've never really been that crazy about the appearance of Gmail; it all just strikes me as a bit cluttered. However, with a fresh interface and the option to hook up a whole bunch of different email accounts, Outlook looks like it might be what I was looking for in terms of a way to manage my Gmail inboxes, without ever really seeing them.

I've never really liked Gmail's labelling-rather-than-folders view on email, so I'm happy to be back with folder options when managing it through Outlook; but more than that, I'm not really inclined to make individual rules up for all my different subscriptions, which lets almost-junk mail build up.

So Outlook's (nee Hotmail's) Sweep option is an ideal way of getting rid of all the excess in one go, but keeping the mails that are still relevant.

Highlight GroupOn email > Select 'Sweep' > 'Schedule clean-up' > 'Only keep latest message from this sender' > Click 'Ok'

Thousands of emails that I've never gotten around to dealing with are gone and it took virtually no effort. Repeat the process for the worst offenders and the inbox is looking almost manageable.

Naturally, the messages are still sitting in my actual Gmail inbox, but for now I can't think of a reason to open it.

Who knows, maybe in time I'll grow to hate it, but for now I'm just happy to be able to use my Gmail again. And yes, I could've done this before with Hotmail, but who still uses that?

Topic: Microsoft

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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32 comments
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  • Gmail spam

    "despite best efforts to keep it relatively spam and junk/newsletter free, over the years it's become a bit daunting"

    I thought it was still blasphemous to admit that Gmail has serious Spam problems.
    Tim Acheson
    • .

      Thats only what the fanboys tell you.

      Reading the other thread and if anyone questioned gmail in anyway it was immediately down voted!
      danjames2012
    • I don't know about that

      still get a lot of spam in my hotmail accounts. Gmail - one a week maybe.
      vgrig
      • Spam in inbox

        I don't really get much spam in either, unless of course you're counting the spam folder.
        Sam Wagner
      • same here

        i count over 1k spam from hotmail a month but rounding up 300 on gmail / month

        Point taken i use hotmail when i sign up for offers online so that is to be expected.. But hotmail spam appears in the inbox till my email client moves it to the spam folder.
        Anthony E
      • It depends on how you use

        If you subscribe to lot of newsletters and offers, then of course all the newsletter mails will be in the inbox.

        I use gmail to subscribe to offers and other things and I do get lot of newsletter emails in my gmail inbox.

        You can't count the emails that you are receiving as newsletters from online sites to which you have subscribed as spam. If it has unsubscribe option, then it's not spam.. at some point you used this account to signup for something.
        coguy74
    • Requiring a subject for a response to an article is very outdated.

      I get a TON of spam at my gmail account... and all of it goes to the spam folder. Seriously though, I got REALLY frustrated because I opened two real spam emails in a row from my inbox a few days ago; then realized, "well, I guess one or two spam emails slipping through the filter every week or two isn't bad".
      jocloud31
    • Gmail has spam problems?

      If you sign up for a newsletter it will be delivered to your inbox, that's what you signed up for, its an email not spam. Gmail has excellent spam filters, and does not have "serious Spam problems".
      Receiving lots of emails from yr friends and colleagues is not Gmail's problem, its yrs and yr organisational capabilities, you cant call that spam.
      And yes, its blasphemous to even say anything about Spam in Gmail, bcoz its non-existant
      Beatnyama
    • Gmail has spam problems?

      If you sign up for a newsletter it will be delivered to your inbox, that's what you signed up for, its an email not spam. Gmail has excellent spam filters, and does not have "serious Spam problems".
      Receiving lots of emails from yr friends and colleagues is not Gmail's problem, its yrs and yr organisational capabilities, you cant call that spam.
      And yes, its blasphemous to even say anything about Spam in Gmail, bcoz its non-existant
      Beatnyama
  • I like Outlook too!

    Even though I am not a big fan of Metro in Windows 8 and doubt I will embrace Windows 8 anytime soon. I have been a long time Hotmail user and think Outlook is very much a improvement over Hotmail. Unlike the terrible LiveMail app that Microsoft tried to sell me on with Windows 7. That ate up memory and had far too busy of a UI for a typical user. I find Outlook much better for a user who simply wants basic email functions. Maybe Microsoft actually listened to users for once?
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • I agree

      Outlook.com is pretty nice. I think I will still use Gmail over it... I have it integrated into to many services to switch.

      I question the metro theme. I believe icon's are extremely windows 3.1esqe. Microsoft cleaned up the icons from the desktop when they introduced the Start Menu in Win95. But, the Metro is just too low quality graphics. The overall concept is good.

      Once third party developers start making custom metro launchers and live images... MS could end up having an interactive magazine style interface.... sort of like they tried with Win 98 active desktop and channels.
      CE Barnes
      • text labels or icons?

        True dat. I like LARGE TEXT Labels over icons as far as screen real estate goes.
        justgold79@...
  • No privacy with gmail

    You know that gmail reads and keeps a record of every email you send or receive? Gmail is a serious privacy threat, especially with this government.
    dvbell41@...
    • No privacy with

      @dvbell41 : dude... MS does the same thing. So does Yahoo. Etc.

      If you're concerned about the privacy of your email, you basically need to run your own mail server. Also, don't send email to anyone using free email services, and don't send email to anyone who might forward an email to someone using a free email service.
      nafhan@...
      • MS does NOT scan your email, google does and states it can use what it

        finds for any other service it has or will build in the future.
        Johnny Vegas
    • Email is sent in clear text

      You do realize that normal email can be handed off to multiple email servers before it reaches the destination. That means any of these servers could scan your email. That is the nature of the beast. If you do not want any one else than the recipient then encrypt your email messages.
      pcguy999
    • bs

      bs. Microsoft and yahoo both cooperated with the chinese government in turning over chinese dissidents.
      justgold79@...
  • No privacy with gmail-Really?!

    Honestly do you think any services doesn't do this?
    cmghoughton
  • Sort by Sender -- Finally!

    I just realized that you can connect Outlook.com to gmail and am in the process of loading years of emails. It's rather slow in loading but my hope is to sort the email by sender and finally delete all of the garbage. Google has refused to add this simple function to Gmail despite all the requests, simply because they feel that search is the best approach. It reminds me of the saying, if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
    Jim_McCusker@...
    • IMAPsize can sort gmail by size or by sender!

      That's what a utility like IMAPsize can do. Does outlook.com even offer IMAP? No, afaik. They do offer POP3 though.
      justgold79@...