Microsoft has launched Outlook.com email platform to replace Hotmail and fend itself against Gmail. According to Microsoft, more than one million people signed up for the service during the first 24 hours. This is the first time in eight years when, Microsoft has completely redesigned Hotmail.
People who already have a Hotmail account, can just sign in through their Hotmail credentials but Hotmail will be phased out in a few months. If you’re a new user, you can go to Outlook.com to create a new email ID.
Similar to other major webmail services, Outlook.com uses Ajax programming techniques and supports later versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. Some of its features include keyboard controls giving the ability to navigate around the page without using the mouse, the ability to search the user's messages including structured query syntax such as "from:ebay", message filters, folder-based organization of messages, auto-completion of contact addresses when composing, contact grouping, importing and exporting of contacts as CSV files, rich text formatting, rich text signatures, spam filtering and virus scanning, support for multiple addresses, and different language versions.
In comparison to other webmail services, Outlook.com offers the following unique features:
Outlook.com's Active view allows users to interact directly with contents and functionality within their email message. For example, any photo attachments can be previewed directly using Active view. In addition, Outlook.com provides a partner platform which allows contents and functionality from various websites and services such as YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and United States Postal Service to be viewed directly within the email message. For example, users may view the YouTube video within Outlook.com when a user receives an email which contains a link to the video. Other functionality of Active view include tracking of real time shipping status from United States Postal Service and performing social networking actions on LinkedIn directly from within the email message.
Office Web Apps integration
Outlook.com integrates with Office Web Apps to allow high fidelity viewing and ing of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents that are attached to the email messages. Users can directly open attached Office documents within the web browser, and save them into their SkyDrive. Users can also perform s to any received Office documents, and directly reply to the sender with the ed version of the document. In addition, users may also send up to 25 GB of Office documents (up to 50 MB each) using Outlook.com by uploading these documents onto SkyDrive, and share these documents with other users for viewing or collaboration.
Outlook.com provides the ability to automatically group sent and received emails that are from the same conversation into the same conversation thread, allowing users to quickly browse through all the emails within the same conversation thread. This feature can be turned on or off depending on the user's preferences.
Quick views and one-click filters
Quick views allow users to filter all emails (in all folders) by document attachments, photo attachments, flagged messages, or shipping updates. One-click filters allow users to filter the inbox (or specific folder) based on whether or not the email message is unread, from the Windows Live Contacts list, from group mailing lists or Windows Live Groups, or from a social networking website. Categories appear under Quick views for ease of access.
Users can create email aliases for their Microsoft account. Once an alias is set up, users can choose to have all email sent to that address go to a specific folder, or to the inbox. Users can send emails from that alias as if it is a normal email address. Up to 5 aliases can be made every year, up to 15 in total. Aliases are completely different from the user's original addresses, and can be removed/created at any time. Aliases are not actual Microsoft accounts, so users can not sign in with them.
Categories allow users to label messages or senders into a particular group, and those categories will appear under "Quick views" in the sidebar. Some categories are created by default, and some mail is put in those categories by default (e.g. photos, office docs and newsletters). Users can select multiple categories for each piece of mail, have categories applied automatically, and create new ones.
Instant actions are buttons that appear when a user hovers the mouse over a message. Examples of instant actions are delete, move, sweep, and flag, and they are customizable in options.
A single-use code is a code that can be used instead of a user's password when signing in with to Microsoft account. Each code can be used only one time, but one can be requested whenever needed. If a user is signing in on a public computer—such as at the library or school—using a single-use code helps keep account information secure. The single-use code is sent to the user when requested during login.
Once the feature is ready to be rolled out, users will be able to make Skype video calls without using the Skype desktop client.5