Microsoft’s ‘new’ email service Outlook.com, has received mixed reception. Some say it is too plain, while others it is exactly what an email client should be.

Microsoft ventured into Web-based email when it bought Hotmail in 1997 to take on Yahoo!’s email. Later on, both Yahoo! and Hotmail lost out to Gmail, and have never been able to get back their lost glory. Outlook.com is Hotmail’s attempt to take on Gmail, which is (or was) known for it’s simple interface.

Gmail’s dominance, Google’s services that integrate with its other services and the Android mobile platform that uses the Google log-in have made many users unable to break out of Google’s shackles.

Outlook.com’s interface is simple and clean. That’s a plus point. The interface will be familiar to you if you have used a Windows Mobile or tried your hands at Windows 8. But the exciting part is that you can access Twitter and Facebook feeds from within Outlook.com. Clicking on an email will display the sender’s latest tweets or Facebook posts on the right .

Though you can retweet or reply directly , messaging the user requires you to go to the People (contacts) menu. You can even connect to Facebook chat right from Outlook.com. Skydrive can be accessed through Outlook.com, but when we do it, we are shunted back in time - the site is not in the new format. It remains to be seen whether Outlook.com can leave the Hotmail legacy behind and emerge as a competitor to Gmail. To achieve this, Microsoft has iron out a few glitches.

dinakaran.rengachary@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 16, 2012)
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