When Microsoft announced the redesign and re-branding of Hotmail and Live.com to Outlook.com, I raced over to the virtual land grab to get the usernames I wanted for the new Outlook.com domain. If I’d understood the process better, I likely would have just converted my pre-existing Live.com email address to an Outlook.com email address — but that process was not clear on Day One, and so I gambled on being safer than sorrier and just started all-new accounts on Outlook.com.
What I didn’t expect in the transition from Live.com — and in comparison with my Google Apps life — is just how great Outlook.com would be in function and aesthetic! Wowser! I like the new icons and fast interface. The overall look and feel are refreshing and new — I can’t wait for the Calendar to be updated to the new design.
The biggest surprise was firing up Outlook.com on my iPhone and finding how fast and easy it was to use. Pages load really fast. Google could learn a few things about beautiful iOS design from Microsoft. You can almost read the mail screen with your eyes closed! The fonts are big and beautiful.
SkyDrive is also improved. It is faster and more responsive and much more useful and friendly on iOS than Google Drive:
“Contacts” are now “People” and, again, on my iPhone, the design is quick and simple to use. No squinting. You can just get the work done.
Firing up my Chrome for Mac web browser brought the same delightful results on Outlook.com. I linked my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Apps profile to my Outlook.com account and now I can pick and choose how many people I want to actively see in my People contacts:
The mail interface is clean and fresh in browser webview, too.
SkyDrive, in browser view, is iconic and interactive. You can drag and drop files — but not not folders! — into your SkyDrive browser window. You can drag and drop files already in your SkyDrive into existing folders. Microsoft needs to allow proper folder upload in browser view.
Microsoft really smashed a grand slam with the release of Outlook.com and the redesign of their core applications. It will only get better, so Google better watch out and snap their act together if they want to continue to righteously innovate and compete. I never thought the day would come when Microsoft would be younger and fresher and faster and smarter than Google — but that day arrived with the release of Outlook.com.