Hotmail has become something of a bad joke among the tech community, lacking the polish or technological nous of rivals like Google’s Gmail.
Now, as Microsoft prepares for its biggest product overhaul since Windows 95, it is ditching the name in favour of “Outlook.com” and revamping the interface to tie in with its new Windows 8 operating system. Here are some of the things you can expect from the world’s most popular email client.
SOCIAL NETWORK INTEGRATION
When you open an email from a contact you will see a panel with their profile picture and their latest updates from Twitter and Facebook. You will also be given an option to sync your contacts from these social networks, in a way users of Windows Phone 7 smartphones will find familiar. You will also be able to live chat with contacts from your Facebook profile through an integrated chat panel.
In line with Windows 8, the new email client will get a new, stripped down, minimalist interface, including the trademark “tiles” that are a running theme throughout the new suite of Windows products. It works – the new look is head and shoulders above the old Hotmail.
NO DISPLAY ADS
Microsoft is clearly gunning for Google here. There will be no display adverts in messages from your contacts and Microsoft will not scan your emails to tailor its ads to you – a contentious topic among Google users.
The new inbox drags Microsoft’s email client up to date, offering services like “threaded” messages, grouping conversations together. The new interface also makes navigating your messages far easier.
Skype is built into Outlook.com, making video calls with your contacts seamless. It is also linked to the new Office 365 service in a similar way to Google Docs. Sky Drive cloud storage is also baked in, meaning you can store larger emails in the cloud.