Presented by Outlook.com. Outlook.com is a preview of modern email from Microsoft. It has a fresh and intuitive design, it connects your email to useful information from Facebook and Twitter, and it gives you a smarter inbox with the power of Office and SkyDrive. Visit Outlookpreview.com to learn more and connect with us at @outlook on Twitter.
Email is email is email, right? Wrong. Because we spend so much time using it, a good email experience can drastically improve a person’s workflow and even their day. The opposite also holds true: a bad email experience can and will ruin your day. That’s why I was so excited to check out the new Outlook.com preview from Microsoft. Yes, I know what you’re thinking… Microsoft? Outlook? Really? Yep.
The first thing that drew me in was the clean design, not only of the marketing campaign, but of the actual user interface. Look, I’m a designer by trade and I appreciate a good interface. Here you’ll find little in the way of skeuomorphism–everything is clean, simple and uncluttered. Actually, let me take this sentence to officially tell the world that Microsoft is back in the game in terms of design quality. With Windows 8 I have been pleasantly surprised by the bold new look of the Microsoft aesthetic and that extends to the new version of Outlook.
There are a couple of really great standout features I want to highlight. First is the excellent photo sharing experience. Now when someone sends you a bunch of photos you can use Outlook Active View to see them via a slick lightbox-style interface designed to make photos pop. Another feature I bet you’ll be salivating over is the ability to receive social updates from within the program itself–you can even start a Facebook chat with just a couple clicks. Add to that built-in Skype support (coming soon) and you’ve got a way to stay in command of all of your communications from one convenient place.
All that is great, but what I really like is the ability to quickly and easily deal with graymail–you know, stuff like newsletters and social updates that you are only interested in some of the time. Outlook.com comes with built-in tools to sweep graymail into a folder (to read later) or to permanently keep certain messages out of your inbox forever with one simple click.
If you are one of the growing number of people who are increasingly worried about putting all of their eggs in the Google basket, Outlook.com may indeed be a real bastion of fresh air. With built-in (free) Word, Excel and PowerPoint web app integration as well as 7 GB of free cloud storage via Skydrive where you can stash photos, videos and other large files, this is a slick alternative to Google Apps.
If I could describe the new Outlook with one word it would be this: declutter. The application itself has been decluttered in comparison to previous iterations and it is geared toward helping you declutter and get more done. From the design to the functionality, you’re going to find the new Outlook light, bright and ready to delight.