Time to look at Hotmail.. err.. Outlook.com again.

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How many of you use gmail, raise your hands. Good! Now how many of you use hotmail? No one, that is understandable…

Hotmail, created by our own once famous Sabeer Bhatia and then sold to Microsoft is an online email client that is taking dust (In India) for some time now. I write in India because in Europe and many other nations it is widely used.

There are two predominant reasons for that-

One is that, in India, widespread internet (We are third largest in the world after all) came quite late and till then Gmail was launched so most Indians created their first profile in Gmail and unless the email client is particularly bad people tend to stick to the one they use.

It is like your mobile operator – You do not want to change it as it meant changing number. Not anymore with coming of MNP but email client still have that problem. Second is XBOX. People who buy it have to use windows live (which is Microsoft’s email client) for online gaming. In India gaming never took off until now thus making this way redundant.

Secondly, Gmail is an excellent webmail client. Rarely, there is a gripe against it and if any is usually ironed out quickly. With the emergence of Android the dependence on Gmail has increased as well but this has bred suspicion in people for Google as well. But these are all talks which can go on forever…

The point I want to make is- “Why fix if it ain’t broke?” And so Google is widely used.

Microsoft though has gone in a phase of complete reinvention. Almost all its products are getting a big over haul (I will discuss them in future posts) and Hotmail is one of them. It is now Outlook.com and should be given a try definitely.

Outlook

The first thing you will notice about Outlook.com is that it works with hotmail and windows live. Basically, with this Microsoft combines the two naming convention. Also, you can change your Id to something new with @outlook.com ending.

This was good for me personally as I wished to change the name. I think a few people might share this with me. Next comes the look and the feel of the interface that is in a word – Metro. Microsoft is in love with its new interface and wants you to love it too. In all honesty, it is not that difficult.

Outlook.com is not shabby at all. A clean blue interface with everything neatly arranged Microsoft has done it right. And it is fast and intuitive, something the previous Hotmail interface always lacked…

As I said, Gmail has done nothing wrong and there is absolutely no reason to leave that ship but it is also wise to not keep all your eggs in one basket. In that regard, Outlook.com gives a bright alternative. Besides, it has two advantages that Gmail does not have. One is integration with other Microsoft’s products. Let us admit it. What Google is online, Microsoft is offline.

Imagine your mail integrated with your email client and your Productivity suite. With Office 365 around the corner, it is prudent to have an Outlook email Id. Google productivity suite is good enough but in front of Microsoft Office it is just cute.

Second is Skydrive. Though technically, it comes under integration but I wanted to elaborate on it. It is basically a service of cloud storage like Dropbox, Ubuntu One( For ubuntu) and Box.net (Mobile) that comes from the Microsoft’s stable. Because of coming from Microsoft it integrates with Windows like no other. It acts like a folder and shows in shortcuts automatically. Yes, it can be done for others as well but it is slightly more tedious. There is no need to do that for Skydrive. Besides, it offers more storage (7GB) for free than other services.

Microsoft is doing real hard to woo its customers back and with Outlook.com I guess it is time to give it a shot.

If you have used Outlook.com, let us know what you feel about it…

  1. Yusuf Turab says

    I think Microsoft have nailed this one. Specially with the integration with sky drive and people hub and the upcoming windows 8 operating system Microsoft has truly become a one stop solution. I am a big user of google apps and google drive and I must say that google drive is the biggest joke of the web industry this year. Sky drive seems to integrate with my PC so much better. Two months into my paid google drive account and I am swamped with duplicates.

  2. Vandhana Karthick says

    Very nice article but as Google has its own Google plus and here it is missing..

    1. Kunal Prakash says

      Yes Vandhana, With Google Plus, google really makes its mail client indispensable but in my opinion because of its comparatively low users it still is not enough to make a dent. On the other hand, you can chat with all your facebook friends via outlook.com.
      It has that option.
      So, I think they are balanced in that regard.

  3. Venkatesan K says

    It is rightly pointed out that Gmail dominates atleast in India as compared to other countries. Outlook is a new interface and the rush that went up my mind to create an ID there before I ran out of names and had to resort to Numericals was an awful feeling. Nevertheless, the ID was created, and we find that Outlook has a very neat interface. As of now, there are no advertisements sported there but we can look forward to that in the near future.
    What is interesting about the interface that Outlook offers is that it is pretty sure that Microsoft is gearing up a mail client for use with a Windows 8 Phone. With a uniform OS for a phone, tablet and a PC, an interface which clouds seamlessly using Skydrive and other social networking features is definitely going to be a boon for the Microsoft Business, and rightly so.
    Looking forward to better results from Microsoft this time!

  4. Ben Salins says

    I’ve been a regular user of hotmail, yahoo & gmail. Personally, I always felt yahoo had a better user experience among the three mentioned.But, with Outlook.Com , it definetly looks like MS has finally got it right, and with the line of products they have lined up for 2013, It will be an interesting year for MS.
    Personally i find myself using the new Hotmail/outlook.com more often these days.

    – ta,
    ben

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Hi Ben – Are you the one who was / is in Mastek?

  5. Altaf Rahman says

    A nice article. Its true that rarely people use Hotmail. I created mail IDs simultaneously in yahoo and hotmail way back in 97. However never used Hotmail seriously. Recently my yahoo mail id is hacked and since then started using Hotmail. Never liked the look of Hotmail. Its so dull and boring and slow.
    But after reading your article, I signed in to outlook with hotmail ID. Today is the first day, did not venture into too deeply. Feels like the same old house, repainted.
    However my Hotmail is gone and the new mail from outlook team says, I am ‘upgraded’ to Outlook.

  6. Anonymous says

    I have now used outlook, people hub and sky drive for a few weeks now and I am absolutely certain it is the best email and cloud storage service right now. I use google drive and drop box as well and both have their issues. Microsoft with the Metro UI is now miles ahead of the competition.

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