July 31, 2012
Outlook Moves To The Cloud, Hotmail A Thing Of The Past
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Holdouts on Microsoft's Hotmail email service have to make a transition to a new email interface. Microsoft is set to introduce a cloud-based Outlook.com. The new personal email service will replace Microsoft's Hotmail and Live.com email services.Microsoft designed Outlook.com with streamlined functions that can handle advanced email issues.
"Recently, we talked about how we've reimagined cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. And we described new apps for Windows 9, updates to SkyDrive, and how cloud services power the new Office Preview. We've also been hard at work on a mission to reimagine personal email - from datacenter all the way to user experience," said Chris Jones, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows Live, in a blog post about the new email service.
If you think the new Outlook.com looks a little like Google's Gmail, you're not wrong. Microsoft director of Windows Live product management Dharmesh Mehta said the new email was designed to attract Gmail users "first and foremost," according to ReadWriteWeb.com.
That doesn't mean it's a carbon copy. Outlook.com has some streamlined features. Users can read email, open attachments within the email window, and use fewer clicks to move and delete emails. Attachments preview in the window, including Office documents such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and OneNote files. Clicks to mark emails for deletion, mark-as-read and moving emails to new files is done with convenient buttons, rather than checking a box and then clicking a button for batch commands.
Users will have 7GB of space for emails through their SkyDrive account. That also facilitates the attaching and sharing of files such as photos. This also removes concern about attachment limits, since files are sent from cloud-based storage. This means an email recipient clicks download, and the file is loaded from the SkyDrive instead of being sent with the email.
Longtime users of Microsoft's email products will have a few choices on their email, but not so much choice on how they get their email. Microsoft is pushing the transition to its new Outlook.com site. Email residing at Hotmail.com or Live.com email servers will be transferred, but those domains will go away at some point. Users with @hotmail.com, @msn.com or @live.com email addresses will have the option to keep those old addresses, or switch to an @outlook.com email. New users will have to choose between an @outlook or @live.com email domain.
Microsoft tried to move Hotmail.com users to Live.com when the latter domain was introduced as a marketing scheme for Microsoft and the new email was introduced. Some users complied, but many still use their @hotmail.com and @msn.com emails. Microsoft will have to hold some hands, and possibly force a redirect to get users to the Outlook.com site to check their email.
Several new features could make the transition more palatable for longtime users of Hotmail and MSN.com. Outlook.com will connect users with their Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking accounts to update contact information, profile photos and other data.