Hotmail users may have been in for a surprise over the last few weeks to find their inboxes updated to Microsoft’s Outlook.com layout. Outlook came out of its preview in February of this year, and since then Microsoft has been rolling Hotmail users into the new design. They managed to migrate 150 petabytes of email in about six weeks. That’s pretty impressive.
There’s nothing users need to do on their end to go along with the update. Those with Hotmail addresses can keep them, and it appears that new users can even sign up for a Hotmail address through the new Outlook.com. To try the new Outlook, I registered a few minutes ago and was given the option of an @hotmail.com address.
The design changes themselves don’t look particularly drastic, so the bigger change here might be funcionality. Here’s the old Hotmail layout:
And here’s how that compares to the new look of Outlook.com:
The constant stream of Outlook.com ads I’ve been seeing on Hulu lately do make the service look pretty slick, so if prettier email is what you’re looking for, it might be time to give Outlook a try.
A big addition to Outlook is the SMTP server feature. In the past users have been able to link their Outlook account with another email address, but when they replied to email sent to the second address it shows up as something like “email@example.com on behalf of firstname.lastname@example.org” which is silly. It doesn’t do that any more, as long as your other email provider provides you with POP or IMAP access, and they probably do.
There are a few other tweaks including better SkyDrive integration that I’m going to test out for a while. It’s hard to remember that far back, but I believe my first email address was with Hotmail. There have probably been a lot of changes since then, so I’m going to try the new Outlook.com and see how I like it.
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