Keep a close look out, here comes Outlook! Outlook.com, Microsoft’s latest web-based email platform (launched in the beginning of August 2012), is an invigorating step up from Hotmail and the company’s newest tactic to stave off the challenge from Gmail. So does Outlook deliver the goods as a reliable personal email service? Coming from a person who has just upgraded from Hotmail service, take it from me – it does! Allow me to elucidate.
Interface that’s ace:
In these days of information overload and audio-visual bombardment, it’s refreshing to come across an email interface that’s smart, professional looking, and organized. Outlook presents all your emails in an exceedingly readable, clear, and coordinated manner. And this I particularly like, the absence of the annoying advertisements and in-your-face hyperlinks that plague other email services.
The result is also an impressively quick interface with swift maneuverability and one that will especially delight tech freaks awaiting Microsoft’s much-hyped Windows 8 and Office 2013 that reportedly use the same layout.
Other design highlights
- Minimalistic display of folders, icons and tags negating clutter.
- Neatly arranged menu commands; additional commands arise only when operating mail.
- Prominently displayed file attachments make it easier to view mails and execute action.
- Intelligent and structured Search Mechanism (including Advanced Search) that allows one to locate mails according to attachment type without running physical filters.
- Useful feature that permits the user to view and edit Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint etc.) documents in the browser itself.
- Nifty but discreet animation that lends a buoyant feel to the proceedings.
It’s great at Integrating
Outlook does a commendable job of bringing all areas of work (and play!) seamlessly together – be it cloud storage, social media, address book contacts, photographs or file attachments. Here are some of the cool features in this regard:
- Address Book Contacts (“People”), Calendar, Cloud Storage (“SkyDrive”) and Mail can be accessed via the dropdown menu embedded in the big Outlook logo on the upper left corner.
- Outlook.com is also geared up to smoothly work with Facebook and Twitter; the former two applications are fully built in and can be accessed on-the-go for networking purposes.
- One can also log in to Outlook through the native desktop platform as also through other supported email applications.
- There also plans to shortly feature Skype (which Microsoft has recently bought) as another inbuilt application.
- The integration is backed by a generous 7GB of storage that Microsoft has been kind enough to bestow to per user.
Playing it safe
Outlook incorporates enviable security features that make it stand out:
- Single-Use Code i.e. the ability to sign in to Outlook from a public computer with the help of a special password delivered to one’s mobile phone via text message.
- Automatic enabling of SSL encryption to safeguard against phishing and hacking.
- Handy tool that instantly recognizes nature of mails (such as updates, newsletters etc.) and sorts them accordingly for further action.
- Anti-junk mail application that restricts spam to less than 3% of mail items.
All in all, it’s pretty apparent that Outlook.com pleases in every department. So I say: go ahead and develop a whole new ‘Outlook’ right away, over 10 million satisfied customers (already!) can’t be wrong.