Description: This passage is about outlook email login. Microsoft’s new Outlook.com e-mail brings a starkly beautiful design, a user-friendly interface, and a wealth of new features. CNET’s Kent German gives you a guided tour.
I’m Kent German, senior management editor at CNET. Today we’re going to take a first look at Outlook.com. Now outlook.com is Microsoft’s new browser-based email service. It is free and is eventually going to replace hotmail. It’s only available in a preview. Anybody can download it. You can use it on any machine.
You’ll see that even though it has a lot of Windows 8 touches, some of the fonts, the People Hub, you don’t need Windows 8 to use it, you can move over to it, if you are existing hotmail user, you can jump on it, if you’re new, if you don’t like it, you can move back but eventually Microsoft will move all hotmail users to this system.
You want to keep that in mind, it has very minimal design, it is clean, it has not a lot of clutter at all, it’s going to look a lot like Gmail in some ways, but I think it’s even more minimalist than that, when you open it up, you’ll see that the inbox is what you’d expect from any email service, you’ll see a list of messages down the front.
You’ll see the usual fields of the sender’s name, the subject line, then you’ll see the time and date sent, if it’s sent in the last 24 hours, you’ll see the time, if it’s sent earlier than that, you’ll see the date, up on the top is the commands bar, you can’t go over and change it to a few different colors.
But that bit of color is the only bit of personalization here, I still think that’s fine because it keeps the email inbox, what you need to know is surface directly, you can add a preview pane in Outlook.com, to do that you go over to the side, click on the cogwheel and add preview pane.
What that lets you do is to preview as you go down in my box, it lets you preview all the content that’s in there, I like using the preview box for a couple reasons, one is that when you’re using the preview pane, you get independent scroll bars for the Inbox.
You can scroll down and see all your messages and this left bar with all your folders, but you don’t have the preview pane on, you only get one scroll bar on the side, so I didn’t like that, you’ll notice that their advertisements over here.
These are unobtrusive, you pop on them, you’ll see that your little picture pops up, Microsoft says it’s not reading your email for the advertisements, I don’t exactly know how it decides what advertisements you get, I saw everything from a set of six jelly jars to a Brazilian steakhouse to random seafood plays.
It was a random assortment, Microsoft says that when you open a message from your friend, the advertisements will disappear, I found that to be the case only when I was using this preview bar, if I go to a message that I sent myself and click on it, you’ll see that the advertisements disappear, but if I go back, remove that preview pane and I click on the same email, then you see the advertisements appear on the side.
I am not sure why that’s happening, I’m going to check with Microsoft, now outlook.com has a People Hub, that’s going to be straight out of Windows Phone, straight at a Windows 8, to get to it you go to this arrow, you’ll see a mail, calendar and SkyDrive.
It is hooked in with SkyDrive, so you get a lot of storage thanks to that, you have a People Hub for finding all your contacts, you can integrate Facebook, Twitter and other social media services with Outlook.com, when that happens, there are few things.
If I get a message from somebody that I’m hooked in through Facebook, go to this message from Jessica Dole Court, you’ll see that her photo from Facebook pops up, I don’t have to insert that manually, you’ll see her latest Twitter and Facebook status updates.
You can also twit directly to her, you could send a Facebook message directly, you could write on her wall directly, it brings all those elements together, you don’t have to integrate Facebook or anything like that, you can keep them all separate.
But another advantage to do that is that you can chat with the person as well, it brings a nice way to do all of those things in one area, on the left side you have your list of folders, that’s standard, you see that on most email services, below that is a quick view section.
This is something that’s unique to my Outlook.com, it allows certain number of categories that you can organize your email into, now they work a couple of different ways, there are default categories for shipping updates, photos and documents and also flagged.
When an email comes in, outlook.com recognizes it as photos attached or it has a shipping update like a tracking number from UPS, it will put them there automatically, this isn’t like a folder, it doesn’t move them there, they leave the inbox.
They stay in variable inbox, they have this sort of category attached to them, if I click on photos for instance, I can see all the emails that came with the photo, same if I go to documents and same if I go to shipping updates, the shipping updates is nice because I’m not sure how that it works exactly, but I have FedEx status updates.
Everything is organized, folders are where you move things to, they leave the inbox, Mr.Web organize your emails, so I can click on a folder, click on work messages, then I’ll show only those messages that I put there, it is very standard like exactly what you’d expect.
With photos and videos outlook.com allows you to preview them directly in the body of the email, I’ll open a couple of those up, we’ll see how they look, when you click on them, you can get an instant slideshow, you can scroll through them.
The photos are big, it’s a nice player, you can download this group, you could download them individually or you can send them out to somebody else, if a message comes from YouTube and you include a YouTube link, you open that up, the video will be in a box and you can play it there.
When you’re scrolling over an email, you get these quick action, there are quick action icons, they only appear when you’re mousing over an email, they allow you to try to mark it as red, trash it or flag it, those are nice because it saves you a couple of steps from going up to a bar up here and trying to find a pull down menu.
You can alter these, you can do a couple of other things, you can mark the junk or you can send a folder or something like that, once you flag a message, a flag message will automatically appear at the top of the inbox, no matter if it was sent two weeks ago or just now, it will appear up top.
That’s nice because it brings those messages to the top, you can choose to hide it if you like, but that’s a nice touch, as you notice this commands bar will change as you’re doing different things, when you’re in the inbox, it’s only going to show the relevant commands.
When you’re in an individual message, you’ll see all the things you need to do like junk removal or anything like that, Microsoft promises a couple of spam filtering features, it tries to make a designation between obvious spam, like a Nigerian, you won the lottery thing or what it calls grey mail.
The grey mail means newsletters and their daily deals, there are the specials you get when you patronize a retailer, they start sending you something every day, you may want some of those things,you may not want some of the things, so Microsoft allows you to do what’s called a schedule cleanup function.
If you go to sweep, you click on there, you go down to schedule cleanup, you can do things like delete all the messages from a sender, you can delete all messages older than 10 days or you can designate the messages that you want saved and the messages that you don’t.
Microsoft says that if you want to block an email, it will make an attempt to block all future emails from a sender and attempt to unsubscribe you, my only question about that is if it makes an attempt to unsubscribe you from an obvious spammer, does that tell the spammer that your email exist and you’re going to get more?
I’m going to have to wait and see, I’ve only been using this for a few days, so I can’t gauge its spam effectiveness, I only have a few messages in it, it is a brand new account for me, so obviously over time I will exactly know how that works.
But it’s nice to see those spam promises, that’s outlook.com, I like it in its first stage, I think that has a nice clean interface, it’s very easy to understand, there are some nice features, I like that click view, I like those instant action items which appear when you’re mousing over your email.
I like all the Facebook integration and Twitter, I know that’s not going to be for everybody, but if you have a real digital life and everybody’s integrated, it’s going to be a great step, you can get an outlook.com account starting now, your email will be so-and-so at outlook.com and then moving forward, if you are hotmail users, you’ll have to get here. I’m Kent German. This is Microsoft Outlook.com.