Microsoft has begun previewing Outlook.com, a refined email experience available to try now for all existing Hotmail users.
The idea is to provide a more polished Outlook experience for people’s personal email accounts, be it on the computer or a mobile device.
Microsoft has dramatically cleaned up the interface with Outlook.com displaying 30% more messages than Hotmail does while the header has 60 per cent fewer pixels. There are also no more display ads.
All emails will be available via Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service and Outlook.com will automatically categorise emails depending on who they’re from. For example, emails from contacts will be grouped together while any newsletters will also be placed in one category. Microsoft say this will help users “sweep” through emails quicker and easier.
All your contacts will be synched with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and eventually Skype, meaning your address book will be filled with the latest photos and status updates from your friends’ social networks.
Office Web Apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote is also integrated into Outlook.com, meaning users can view and edit documents within their email inbox.
Existing Hotmail users can see the new interface by “upgrading” in the options menu of their Hotmail account. If you decide it’s not for you there is an option of returning to the Hotmail interface.
Any emails sent to or from a Hotmail, MSN or Live email address will automatically be found in Outlook.com though a new Outlook email address can also be added.
Other email accounts such as Gmail and Yahoo can be set up so that emails are forwarded on to Outlook.com, though an Outlook address will need to be set up first by visiting www.outlook.com.
Have you tried Outlook.com? Let us know what you think in the comments below...