Microsoft has released outlook.com which is expected to replace the existing hotmail.com. The new service has a slick interface which looks just like the Messaging app in Windows 8. If you haven’t tried the service yet, here are five reasons why you should.
The new minimalist interface is very easy to use and reminds one of the gmail at launch. It offers all the advanced features offered by Outlook, but it is presented in a better and more intuitive fashion. When writing a new email you have the whole page just for the content of the email with nothing distracting you from the task at hand.
Inbox size and Skydrive integration
Microsoft’s new email offering offers 5GB storage much like Hotmail earlier. This may be lesser than what gmail offers currently, however the inbox can be further expanded to up to 500GB. The inbox coupled with skydrive is a solid competitor to Google’s offering. Skydrive offers 7GB of storage to all users and 25GB to some users who had opted in for a free upgrade earlier this year. More storage space can be bought at a very affordable rate. Users can also upload files as big as 2GB to the drive and when used with Skydrive app for Windows, it works much better than iCloud.
Windows 8 integration
You can login to any Windows 8 computer with an outlook.com, hotmail.com or live.com email id and once you do, the interface will be customised for you. Your emails will automatically appear in the Messaging app and the rest of the apps can also be configured to your liking. Since Outlook.com is a new id there is also a high chance of you being able to grab an id with your name sans numbers and hyphens.
Facebook chat and Skype
You can add integrate Facebook with Outlook and you can chat with your Facebook friends from right within outlook.com. You don’t need to download a separate chat client and the integration is as good as Google’s implementation of gchat within gmail. The Facebook connect doesn’t stop at chat alone. You can go to the ‘People’ tab, select your friend and post to their wall from right within outlook. So if Facebook is blocked in your office, you can still catch up with them while checking your mail. Similarly you can also start video chat with friends thanks to the skype integration.
The People tab is a killer feature in Outlook. Google has a robust Contacts set up within gmail and Outlook is able to beat gmail thanks to its Facebook integration. In the future Microsoft plans to add other social networking sites to the service and you’ll be able to tweet your friends from within your email. The People tab also syncs with Windows 8 computers if you login with the same credentials. So you can do all these from the People app in Windows 8 too.