The opening ceremonies in the “Olympics of Email” attracted over a million fans last week to preview an online service with a legacy of business performance under the golden sunset of the Olympic Mountains.
Google Mail meet Outlook.com, a more robust online email competitor than Hotmail that won’t read your letters and try to sell you something that’s, well, too personal.
Outlook.com serves up text-based ads based on location only. The ads are barely noticeable unless something catches your eye and you hover over the spot with your mouse for a closer look.
Over a million users flocked to the new, virtual P.O. boxes where they could scoop up their first name, family name or company name without extra numbers. According to The Verge, someone even managed to grab SteveBallmer@Outlook.com. Oops!
Microsoft’s come-from-behind footsteps may have been heard by Google which just acquired Sparrow, a Macintosh email client builder, that some speculate will overhaul the spare Gmail GUI. The current template for Gmail is remarkably unintuitive, design not being Google’s champion stripe.
Existing Hotmail users can switch to the preview now by enabling it in their account. There is then a rather cumbersome process for adding an alias, which allows you to score a fresh @outlook.com account to your existing Microsoft account. Hotmail then wants you to link the two accounts for grouping your email in the same place. Your best option may simply be to forward your existing Hotmail to the new Outlook, or vice versa, if you wish to keep all of your accounts in one place.
Emails can be automatically filtered into specific categories, which if you desire are then listed on the side panel. Drag and drop emails into folders or establish criteria for them to be moved there automatically. By default Documents, Flagged, Important, Photos, and Shipping Updates are enabled.
When doing an import of mail from another account, the service identified many photos and items that had a shipping confirmation number inside. This could be very useful; this section can also be customized for anything you wish to keep track of.
Sweep, which already exists in Hotmail, lets you gather up unwanted digitritus and “sweep” it into the trash.
Outlook.com syncs through Microsoft Exchange so mobile flexibility is baked in. You should choose this option when you want to synchronize either your iPhone, Android or Windows phone). The Exchange ActivSync technology (which makes it accessible through third-party email solutions (including the desktop Outlook) is a welcome alternative to IMAP or POP3 for syncing up your data.
Will Outlook.com transform your email activities? It’s an olympian effort, for which Microsoft deserves a solid “goal “medal. [24×7]