Why Microsoft's Outlook.com is no Gmail killer

Microsoft just killed Hotmail. Its now called Outlook.com and comes with a cleaner interface, social media integration, Skype, SkyDrive, Apps for documents etc. Here's a quick review.

Microsoft just killed Hotmail. It's now called Outlook.com and comes with a cleaner interface, social media integration, Skype, SkyDrive, Apps for documents etc.

Here's a quick review from sign-on to feature use:

The Social media linking: First things first: I have to confess that I'm not so thrilled about linking my social media accounts or my documents with Outlook. On the surface, it's an interesting feature, but no thanks.

The basic problem: If my Outlook is hacked, everything else that is linked to it will also be affected. Call me a freak but having everything in one inbox is a bad idea.

Just last month Yahoo faced a massive hack attack which saw hackersstealing account credentials belonging to registered users of its Yahoo Contributor Network, previously known as Associated Content.Basically, the Yahoo Contributor Network is where users are required to sign in using a Yahoo, Google or Facebook ID. This meant that if they had used any other account to log-in to a Yahoo service such as Flickr, their account could have been or was hacked.

Outlook.com. Screengrab from the the Windows blogpost.

So yeah, it sounds great that I can link my Facebook into Outlook but sorry I'm not going to do it due to the sheer risk that is involved in exposing reams of personal social data.

The interface is clean and simple:Outlook.com has a clean pristine white interface with a very, very bright blue band on top.

No, it doesn't look like Gmail at all. Also the composition box will take a lot of getting used to. When you type the subject of the email, its all that you can see, like one giant headline. The subject line is the hero, not the email.

It's also a little confusing that send, reply, etc are divorced from the visual frame of the email, which again will leave you searching.

Sadly I couldn't actually type the email because my Firefox and Chrome were not updated but IE was. Surprise, surprise. I don't understand why one needs an updated browser to type an email. Some features not working on an old browser is understandable, not being able to type an email is just plain sad.

Offering Facebook chat is such a bad idea:All of Facebook's 900 million users are aware that Facebook chat is terrible. Messages don't get delivered for hours, days and people often go offline without reason. The rationale behind integrating with Facebook experiences has always been that if you're online, you're also on Facebook, but integrating with a mediocre feature makes no great sense. Still waiting to link some contacts to see how the chat works with other Outlook users.

The Quick Views tab: This feature looked quite promising. Any emails with documents, photos etc can be viewed with ease here thus ensuring that you don't have to search in your inbox for any important document. If you want to edit online you have to download, click on edit online. The document will be uploaded to SkyDrive for you to edit.

For those who can't give up Word and hate Google Docs, this is a good way to ensure that everything stays online and within reach. The online web-app is similar to the regular Microsoft Word, so there shouldn't be any trouble adjusting.

Overall, if you're a Google doc user already, it's unlikely you'll give up Gmail but Outlook.com could very much have enough to make MS Office lovers stay with Outlook.

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