Microsoft plans to roll out big changes to the most successful email service in the world when Hotmail will transition to Outlook although no deadline has been set yet.
According to Microsoft, current users will still be able to keep their @live.com or @hotmail.com emails but new users will be only have the option to choose between @live.com or @outlook.com domains.
Launched in 1996, Hotmail has over 325 million users around the world, making it the largest of its kind. The far second is Google’s Gmail which has around 298.2 million users while Yahoo registers 298 million according to comScore. Hotmail’s lead is shrinking fast as its new rivals blows past its aging set of features.
Both Yahoo and Gmail have more social integration filters, labels, and better user interface compared to Hotmail. And the domain @hotmail.com sounds decades old even, like what AOL has become over the years. Having an AOL email address has become a favorite punch line nowadays.
Microsoft says that the new Outlook will have a noticeably new cleaner look if put side by side with Yahoo or Gmail. The tech giant claims that Outlook Web app will have 60% fewer header space compared to its Gmail rival, allowing faster access to users’ emails.
However, the most significant changes will come in the form of artificial intelligence and social aspects built inside the new email service. Users will have an option to use instant messaging within the app itself. Skype will also be integrated into the mail client. Microsoft bought Skype last year for $8.5 billion.
Outlook Web app will also detect labels newsletters and promotional offers automatically from stores to give one of the smart features to regular old email. Messages identified by Outlook as ad will have an automatic “unsubscribe” button to give users instant access to can them. Clicking on the said button will not only unsubscribe the user through the retailer, but will also siphon any promotions in the future into the trash if unsubscribe command is
For folks relying on their emails to get updates for their packages being delivered by mail, another innovative feature will also be introduced so that a button on top of the message will give a user easy access to the shipment tracking website.
Microsoft plans to release Outlook.com for personal and consumer use although Outlook will still remain its business email client.
Another thrust of the new Outlook is to target dissatisfied Gmail users by providing an easy way to move their contacts conveniently by utilizing everyday keyboard shortcuts. Outlook will also allow former Gmail users to keep receiving messages from their Gmail address.
The modifications are impressive but so is Microsoft’s ambition to get 1 billion users around the world. Such a figure is a daunting challenge for current Hotmail. Combining elements of hotmail and of Exchange into an impressive Metro-styled client will definitely make Microsoft’s email service cool again, at last.