Microsoft's changing outlook on email

Last Updated: Mon, Aug 06, 2012 05:17 hrs
Microsoft Outlook, Outlook, new email, outlook review, technews

Just when we thought that web mail services were all about Google's Gmail and Yahoo, Microsoft redesigned its ageing as, considered the biggest improvement in its email service in eight years.

Microsoft bought Hotmail from the entrepreneurs, Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, for a reported a $400 million in 1997 – a full decade before Google mail arrived on the email scene. But Gmail's bigger storage capacity and neatly designed interfaces wooed users - over 425 million people across the globe have a Gmail account. The fact that Gmail remains a constantly evolving product explains why it's so popular today.

The new is in no way related to Microsoft's corporate desktop email and calendar program. Instead,'s clean design is closer to the simplicity of Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8's Metro (tiled) interface. The new does not disappoint, but before you get ready to create a new email id, here's what you should know:


User gets unlimited storage, and those with existing, ids can switch to with the existing address

Free apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote allow users to view and edit attachments without leaving the inbox.

Automatic folder feature helps organise and prioritise users' inboxes in a way that can work in virtually any type of desktop or mobile email client

THE GOOD does not personalise ads by looking at the email content (like Gmail does). What one would see is generic ads displayed on the right-hand sidebar of the inbox.

Users can get rid of spam that escapes from the spam filter by restricting emails from a specific person or from an entire domain

By specifying domain names (like or or individual email addresses and messages from these blacklisted address will be automatically deleted

Displays a contact's Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (and soon Skype) profiles in a sidebar, should the user give Outlook access to these accounts. Users can also post updates on Twitter and write on someone's Facebook wall, directly from You can also do Facebook chat within

Security vendor Sophos cites that accounts allow passwords of up to 16 characters, which does limit the account security


A user gets up to 10GB of free storage space. Additional storage can be bought for fees starting at $3

Google Docs (Word, PDF, Excel, etc) is embedded within Gmail. Users can upload, edit or view documents on Google Drive, integrated within the Gmail

If a contact is online in either Gmail or Google Talk, one can chat right from Gmail. Turning emails into Google Calendar events is just a click away


Gmail allows as many as 200 characters for password. Longer passwords are harder to crack

Google employs a standard called IMAP that lets you use pretty much any email client for offline mail synchronisation to computers and phones. requires only Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync

To sort emails, simply drag a label from Labels list and drop it onto a message body. Users also have the option to use webmail themes to liven up the screen or create customised themes

Last year, Gmail shifted from text-based buttons to an icon-only design, which can be confusing to some users


Comes with unlimited storage for emails and attachments, which means there's no fear of running out of space

Optimised for the mobile and hand-held browsing from iPhone, and Android phones. Supports HTML5 webmail for iPhone.

Yahoo's inbox offers tabbed views - anything like read, reply, search mail will open a new tab

Yahoo Mail allows up to 32 characters for a password which is better than

It claims to employ the latest SpamGuard technology and new anti-phishing platform that reduces spam by as much as 60 per cent and helps protect users from email hijackers and unwanted messages

In-built apps allow editing pictures or send big files/attachments easily. It also allows users to update their Facebook status from within inbox

You cannot label messages freely (and with multiple tags) or set up smart folders to sort mail.

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