Hotmail has always been one of Microsoft’s sore points. Hotmail was associated with spam mail, viruses, and lacking in security. Hotmail was also in desperate need of a redesign.
With the recent overhaul of many of Microsoft products, such as Windows 8, Windows Phone, Microsoft Office, to Metro design philosophies, Hotmail is also getting the same treatment with the transition to Outlook.com.
Whilst Hotmail had a very cramped look and feel, the metro style outlook is very pleasing to use and look at. By placing the main tool bar at the top, and the reduce of unnecessary items; Microsoft was able to provide more space for users to read their email. Microsoft has also kept the standard reading pane they had in Hotmail, which will satisfy users who liked the reading pane. By default, the reading pane is turned off.
Outlook has also taken a leaf out of Windows Phone by naming the contacts section “People”, and gave metro window phone style icons to People, Calendar and SkyDrive.
Similar to Gmail, and also Hotmail previously, Outlook also has an ad banner on the sides. However, unlike Gmail, the adverts are not targeted or related to the content of email you receive. Furthermore, the adverts are a light shade of gray, and are not distracting at all, making them easy to ignore.
Previously Microsoft acquired Skype. Now, Microsoft has integrated that technology into more of their products. Besides integrating into Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Skype is also integrated into outlook.com. Outlook’s messaging facilities allow users to connect with Facebook friends, and Skype with them as well.
With the renaming of the Microsoft mail service from Hotmail to Outlook, there are now new email names ending with outlook.com available for grabs. For those with common names that find it difficult to find emails without added prefix-suffix and numbers, you should try and grab one asap. Although it does not seem beneficial to open yet another email account, it is possible to link accounts and forward other mail to the new account.
To see what Microsoft have to say about the redesign, look here.
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