New email service from Microsoft – Outlook.com

This week Microsoft launched a replacement for their Hotmail email service  – Outlook. All existing Hotmail/Live users can automatically start using the new service, while the ones who hadn’t the account before can sign up here.

The interface of Outlook.com is Metro style Windows 8 style, which makes it much beautiful, cleaner and easy to use when compared to old one:

There already are many complete reviews of the Outlook.com email service, so what I would like to do in this post is do a list of the things that I like in the new services and the thinks that does not look good for me. While some of them might look like a minor and not too important for some of you, others might help you to decide on migrating to Outlook.com.

Great things about Outlook.com

  • User interface
    As I have mentioned before, the new user interface is very clean and easy to use. All main functions can be accessed easily (that is not something I could say about Hotmail.com)
  •  Social integration
    You can connect your account with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google accounts. Outlook aggregates contacts from all those services and also enables to to live chat with you Facebook contacts.
  • Office Web Apps integration
    Attached Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents can be opened directly in the browser using Office Web Apps.
  • Photo viewer
    Called “Showtime”, the feature allows you to easily view photos attached in an email as a gallery.
  • Integrated Skype client
    This feature is not enable yet, but once it is, it will allow you to make Skype calls directly from Outlook.com, without even having Skype installed on your computer.
  • Unlimited storage
    According to the Microsoft, the storage on Outlook.com is “virtually unlimited“. Anyhow, it is hard to image if any home user would require more than, let’s say, 20GB of email storage.

List of the things that does not look so good for me

  • Not fully transitioned yet
    Even there are no Beta signs on Outlook.com, it still looks that it is not fully transitioned from Live email yet. The calendar is still not refreshed to Metro UI, profile updates are being done via old Live interface and so on.
  • High CPU usage
    Likely, do to some Javascript script, my browser (tried Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer) starts using my CPU for 50% once I opened the Outlook.com page. The issue only exists with my old account, having many emails and social networks connected. For the new account I have created, there is no such issue.
  • No way to filter contacts
    Issue with connecting many social networks is that there currently is no way to filter those contacts that come from other social networks. I really do not need seeing companies I’m fallowing on Twitter in my contact list. The filtering issue is solved great in Windows Phone, so let’s hope the same filtering comes to Outlook.com too.
  • No way to merge contacts
    Outlook.com does a quite good job automatically merging contacts from all your social networks into single entry. Anyhow, there are times when there are some differences in contact names and therefore they cannot be merged automatically. It would be great to have option to select and merge contacts manually.
  • No way to set picture for contact
    This one is actually really strange . Even Outlook.com shows photos of contacts it gets from social networks, it does not provide you an ability to set photos of contacts you are adding manually. This is a must have feature.
  • No IMAP support
    Actually, I am not missing this feature too much, since Outlook.com supports ActiveSync, which allows you to synchronize email, calendar and contacts. Anyhow, on Reddit I saw many people are complaining about non-existing IMAP support.
  • Maximum password length
    A strange thing is that Microsoft limits password length to 16 symbols. If the passwords a hashed one way as they should, what is the point of limiting password length for the user?

As you can see, the list of cons is a bit longer. Despite of that, many of those items listed in the list of “bad things” are minor ones and it is very likely they (at least most of them) will be fixed later, once Outlook.com moves out from “Preview” state. Most important thing is that it looks that Microsoft is moving in the right direction.

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