Microsoft Outlook: Hotmail Gets New Look, Name

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has introduced a brand new email service called It features a look and feel very similar to that seen in the upcoming Windows 8 operating system (OS).

Although it introduces a number of new ideas and features, will likely be a comfortable fit for experienced users of Microsoft's Hotmail service.

After all, mail folders are clearly displayed along the left side of the screen, while individual email messages are positioned in the middle. Advertisements show up on the right.

Touch, Social Networking the New Focus

Like Windows 8, is optimized for touchscreen devices, with touch functionality a major part of the service's navigation system. A fingertip or stylus can compose and move emails quickly and easily, Microsoft says.

Microsoft has also added several brand-new features to For example, if a user opens an email sent by a friend, they will see the message and will also get access to the sender's most recent Facebook and Twitter updates. (Source:

Microsoft is also trying to limit customer complaints about advertising by limiting ads to text-based boxes. Only when the cursor moves over a text advertisement will larger images be shown.

It's even possible to completely replace's advertising box with an instant message window that allows users to send notes to their Windows Messenger and Facebook contacts.

Microsoft says it's working to add Skype functionality (including video chat) to the new service within the next few months.

New Outlook to Eventually Eclipse Hotmail

If you're a Hotmail user, you can switch to the new service from the Hotmail settings menu.

Although it's possible to revert back to Hotmail if the updates aren't to your liking, it appears Microsoft will eventually start moving all Hotmail users to the new service.

So far, -- which is still in beta form -- is receiving some positive reviews. "It's a winner," says Computerworld's Preston Gralla, who adds that " is more like a mail client than a cloud-based mail service." (Source:

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