As I was catching up on my current events on CNN, I noticed an interesting headline on their bottom line: “Microsoft replaces Hotmail with Outlook.com.” After I missed out on the ideal Twitter name, I made a decision to always sign up for new services right away regardless of how much I think I’ll use them. So, with the announcement of Outlook.com, I wanted to get over there ASAP and stake my claim! Unfortunately, “firstname.lastname@example.org” was already taken, but I still took the chance to look around and explore some of the features.
Overall, the UI is quite nice. It feels very crisp and clean, much like the upcoming Office 2013. I wasn’t a Hotmail user, but my Live account was already setup for it, although I wasn’t receiving any email since I hadn’t connected any of my existing email accounts. As I said before, my goal was to get my “@outlook.com” email addresses, and it took me a minute to figure out how. You need to click “More mail settings” under the configuration menu in the upper right corner, and then click “Create a Outlook alias.” (C’mon, Microsoft–do a grammar check! Create an Outlook alias!) You’ll be taken to a screen with a [textbox]@outlook.com prompt, and you can claim your name. Note that you can create multiple aliases, so you may want to grab firstname.lastname and firstnamelastname or whatever other nicknames you might want. (I was hoping they’d make period placement in email addresses irrelevant like gmail, but it appears they didn’t.)
I’ve only spent a few minutes with it at this point, but here’s what I like so far:
- Multiple @outlook.com aliases
- Drag and drop messages and folders
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Clean UI/look and feel
If you’re a fan of the offline Outlook experience, you’ll probably really like Outlook.com. It’s definitely worth checking out!