We heard a couple of weeks ago that Microsoft was going to migrate its Outlook.com mail service to its Office 365 infrastructure and now those new features are beginning to roll out to a limited audience.
Microsoft plans to offer these enhancements to a wider audience through an opt-in program in the near future.
So what will you see at the new Outlook.com once you are able to get into the preview?
- Clutter will help you manage your inbox and get to the important emails first. By placing emails in your Clutter folder yourself the system will also learn your priorities and work with those to sort incoming email.
- Improved search and additional search tools that help you easily drill down through your inbox and folders to find exactly what you are looking for.
- Themes have been added to personalize your email environment to move away from the plain looking interface.
- If you paste a link into an email you will see a preview including video links and web pages.
- Place images in your email with copy and paste to lay them out exactly where you want them to be.
- Pop-out reading and composition boxes similar to that in the desktop Outlook program.
- Pin emails to the top of your inbox or flag them for action later.
- Add-ins such as Uber’s, which was demoed at Build, and others from PayPal and Boomerang will be available in addition to those already on Outlook.com.
More collaboration is also coming to your Outlook.com inbox with this transition:
- New Skype integration allows you to carry on conversations with your colleagues over voice, video or IM chat.
- Improved sharing from OneDrive to easily share links to cloud based files without needing to send out an email with attachments.
- Viewing shared documents from OneDrive in an email brings that item up right beside the email to allow you to view and edit them on the go. Once you are done the changes are saved to the original document on OneDrive so no attachment confusion.
Outlook Calendar has also been improved to allow easy management of shared calendars and, with new collapsible side panels, you can access the info you need to stay on track.
Of course, this would not be the new Microsoft without the addition of a feedback channel so a new Outlook UserVoice site is now live.
As I looked through some of the screenshots in the Office Blogs announcement post about these new features it sure reminded me of the universal apps we are seeing for Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar. Familiar interfaces across multiple devices.
Harkens back to Satya Nadella’s favorite quote these days about the focus being on the mobility of the experience for users and not the device/platform.
Here is a video from Microsoft which highlights the new features:
By the way, be sure to read the FAQ at the bottom of the New ways to get more done in Outlook.com post.