Microsoft has announced that it is to drop popular email
service Hotmail for a web-based version of Outlook, in what it calls "a mission
to reimagine personal email. Hotmail was first introduced in 1996 and Gmail 8
years following that; Microsoft say that for personal email, not much has
changed since then, until now.
Changes are needed, Microsoft say on their official blog, as
more and more people keep their connections in social networks rather than
email and this is why a new approach to email is necessary. The official
preview of Outlook.com has already been released in beta version so it’s worth
heading over to have a look, especially if you’re a Windows Live user.
According the Microsoft, the new Outlook is designed for
cloud so that mail is always just a click away, so long as you have some form
of internet connection. The web-based version allows more messages to be visible
in the inbox and "there are no display ads or large search boxes that take up
"Outlook.com also uses Exchange ActiveSync, so it powers
your mail, calendar and people experience on your smartphone, tablet, and the
new Outlook 2013 Preview,” Microsoft goes on to explain.
They also go on to outline the integration that the new web
Outlook will have with social networks; users can connect to all of the major
networks which can include status updates, friend’s photos, tweets and "the
ability to chat and video call", with the addition of Skype.
There is also the inclusion of free Office Web Apps such as
Word and Excel, as well as access to Skydrive so that you can share and file
all of your documents online without worrying about attachment limits.
You can get an @Outlook address starting from today and if
you’re already a Hotmail customer then it’s just a simple matter of clicking ‘upgrade’
in the options menu. All of the data you currently have stored in Hotmail will
be retained and you can start using the preview version immediately.