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First Look at the New Outlook

A few months back I heard that Hotmail was being replaced by Outlook. At first blush, I thought the Web mail system was being replaced with something that looked and acted a like an HTML version of the PC client. And who doesn't know how to use that?

Instead, to confuse us all, there are now two Outlooks: the PC client and a Web-based replacement for Hotmail.

Reviewers claimed this new Outlook was a big step up, doing a nice job of flagging messages with photos and attachments and putting these into "quick view" mode. This is handy for a couple reasons. These often carry viruses, spam or shams so they can quickly be deleted. In other cases, they are just what we've been looking for, and want to see right away.

Outlook (not sure what we should call the dang thing to distinguish it from the real Outlook) also integrates with social networking, combining Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Gmail and Yahoo contacts into one monster contact file.

It should also integrate well with your Windows Phones and existing Outlook contact lists.

For a Web client, there was one big problem: It was barely functional on a Mac. It couldn't even attach a file. And when you brought it up on the Mac, there was no option to revert back to the old Hotmail. Not cool.

With the beta I also couldn't forward e-mails with files -- it was hard to find options for  an active preview and it only half worked. And with conversation mode, when you forward on an e-mail, the original message is buried under the forwards. And now I have ads along the right-hand side that can't be moved.

Deleting is awkward and is a mistake waiting to happen. You see, when you highlight messages you delete from the top so you can't see all that you are deleting. Weird.

Am I just an Outlook dufus or is the new Outlook less than stellar? You tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 12/06/2012 at 1:19 PM


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