Outlook.Com –Microsoft’s Thundering Challenge To Gmail
Microsoft’s new and improved email service – Outlook.com not only goes one over Hotmail, but is also positioned as a challenge to Gmail. With a bunch of new features and clever social media integration, Outlook.com is poised to lure away ardent Gmail fans. Let’s see what Outlook.com offers that challenges Gmail’s 8 year stronghold over webmail services.
Hotmail Users Don’t Need To Migrate To Gmail Anymore!
Outlook is a vast improvement over Microsoft’s current email service, Hotmail; the new features will delight existing Hotmail users. Hotmail users are provided a link to transfer their accounts to Outlook, without any change to the first part of their email address. Only the last part of their email address will change from Hotmail.com to Outlook.com.
Negative aspects of Hotmail such as the boring UI and lack of organization are now replaced with a clean and simple UI. There are no Ads and spam on Outlook, as there was on Hotmail. There is just one Ad bar to the right side, but it doesn’t get in the way of users. By doing all of this, Outlook ensures that Hotmail users won’t migrate to Gmail anymore.
Now Gmail Users Can Shift Their Loyalties To Outlook
Outlook.com has incorporated some of Gmail’s best UI features into its email interface. In fact, Outlook’s UI is almost just like Gmail’s UI. The strategy here makes perfect sense. This is a plus for Gmail users, as they won’t be deprived of their favorite features when they make the switch to Outlook. For the Gmail users, transferring loyalties to Outlook means no learning curve, instant UI familiarity, plus superior features. The Microsoft Outlook.com UI has elements from Hotmail, Metro UI from Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 and Microsoft Exchange.
Cool New Features
Here are some of Microsoft’s cool new features that make this service a treat to use.
1. Automatic Folders
Outlook.com creates virtual folders for email and sorts your mail automatically. For example, if you receive Facebook and Twitter alerts and newsletters, Outlook.com pools them under named folders. It does the same thing for other repetitive messages that you get. By doing this, Outlook.com keeps your inbox unclogged, retaining emails from people. You can also create and set up inbox rules, just as you can do it in your Microsoft Outlook client. The automatic folder sorting feature comes in very handy when you use Outlook.com on your mobile phone.
2. Useful Hover-Over Options
When you hover over an email, you can see a bunch of actions that you can perform on that email. You can flag the message, sort it to a folder or delete it. The best part is that you can customize the hover-over feature’s functions to suit your mail management needs.
3. No More Text-Mining
Microsoft has promised not to mine users email text. Google mines users’ emails and uses whatever information it gleans to target Ads. People accept this as the price they pay for using a free service. Gmail offers unlimited storage, which is another reason why users put up with text mining. Outlook.com capitalizes on people’s unease, offering a free email service, unlimited storage and yet no text mining.
4. Ready Social Media Integration
Google: Google didn’t bother to integrate with Facebook and Twitter, the two most popular social media platforms. Rather, Google tried to compete with its Google+, but people don’t use Google+ the way they use Facebook and Twitter. There is a Gmail plugin called Rapportive which populates the right column in Gmail with contact information. Rapportive takes this info from logged in social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If you’re not logged in, you don’t get this info.
Microsoft Outlook: A similar functionality is built into Outlook.com, without the need for a plugin like Rapportive. The message screen’s right column is populated with social contact data in the Metro UI style. You can view your social media contacts and check their updates. What’s more, you can respond with your own updates, which will be written on Facebook’s wall and tweeted to your contacts. By providing this unbeatable feature, Microsoft has brought instant messaging directly into your email interface, much better than Gtalk. Skype and Skydrive will also be integrated to Microsoft’s Outlook.
The short of it is that Microsoft has cleaned up Hotmail, stripped it of the bothersome Ads, slowness and other nuisances. It has replaced Hotmail’s UI with a more elegant interface that has all of Gmail’s UI elements plus some more. Outlook.com provides ready integration with Facebook, Twitter, Skydrive and Skype.
What does this mean for Gmail users? Well, Gmail is still the right choice for people who use Google Docs or Google+ heavily. However, if that’s not you, and you’re more of a Twitter, MS Office, Facebook and LinkedIn user, Outlook.com is a much better deal for you. What’s more, Outlook.com delivers a more optimized mobile web experience as well.
Written by Gagan from Invesp where he mainly writes about landing pages designing and conversion optimization.