Hotmail Evolves Into Outlook

I think it’s safe to say that most people moved away from Hotmail in favour of Gmail, mainly because of the abysmal spam filtering system that Hotmail uses. I personally use Google Apps for all of my email accounts – personal, RefuGeeks & DroidHQ. It’s an excellent system, so when I heard that Microsoft are doing away with Hotmail and are replacing it with Outlook.com – I had to take a look.

I’ve registered for an account and signed in, the first thing that I notice is that the new interface is very clean – a lot like Gmails in fact.

My Outlook.com Inbox

As you can see, the interfaces are both very clean and similar in many ways. With the main navigation being a long the top and with Labels/Folders being down the left. One addition that Outlook.com has that Gmail doesn’t is the numerous ads down the right hand side of the screen. Personally, when I’m working on my emails, I don’t like to see ads taking up space all over the screen.

Composing an email

When you come to actually writing an email in Outlook.com, it soon becomes obvious that Microsoft designed this interface with tablets in mind. You enter the email recipients down the left of the screen and then add the subject and body text in the main section of the screen to the right. The addressee’s being down the left looks awkward to me and doesn’t really flow well, but I can see it working well on a landscape tablet. Maybe it’s just me because I’m so used to the traditional way of composing emails.

Composing an email through Outlook.com

Features

In terms of features, because I didn’t use Hotmail previously, I can’t really say what’s new and what isn’t. All the regular features that you would expect are there, such as out of office/vacation replies, signatures, email forwarding and collection from other accounts via POP. This is all completely normal and has been present in Gmail for many years. However, I was surprised to see that there is no IMAP functionality, POP is present, but no IMAP. For me this is a huge hole as I have multiple machines so when I used to use an email client, IMAP was always the way to connect for me so I didn’t have a sea of unread, unsorted emails when I changed machines.

In terms of user interface personalisation, all that you can do at the moment is change the default font and colour of your emails and change the top panel and header text colours. You can’t select any colours though, there is a selection of 12 to chose from.

Conclusion

Outllook.com looks pretty modern but is lacking some basic features and customisation options. With the obvious concerns about spam filtering, or lack of in Hotmail’s case – I can only hope that Microsoft have improved this for Outlook.com. All in all, it’s a good effort Microsoft, but you certainly won’t be tempting me away from Gmail/Google Apps any time soon.

What do you guys think? Is this a move in the right direct for Microsoft? Can they now compete with Gmail or are they destined for failure? Why not add you thoughts about outlook.com in the comments section…

Hotmail Evolves Into Outlook
User Rating: 0 (0 votes)
  • davebowlin

    GMail will be hard to compete with. However, there are a couple interesting things in Outlook.com email. 1 – The ads are not delivered by scanning actual emails for key words as GMail does. 2 – If your attachments are pictures, you can view them as a slideshow (requires Silverlight). The pictures can even be streamed from, say, Flikr.