Outlook.com left preview just a few weeks ago as the world’s fastest growing email service. Millions of customers continue to join Outlook.com daily. We have been humbled by some fantastic reviews and today, we wanted to share more about two features that are customer favorites: the ability to share just about anything in a single message using SkyDrive and the ability to keep your address book automatically updated with info from Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. We think these features give you a better experience and embody the way modern email should be designed to meet the needs of modern people.
Breaking free of the walled garden and connecting to the services you really use
Ten years ago, your email address book was the best digital repository for contact information about your friends and family. If you were industrious, you’d add phone numbers, addresses, and other info to accompany a friend’s name and email address. And if you remembered to do it, you might have even updated every phone number and address each time one of your friends moved, got married, or landed a new job. But in reality, we all know how this worked out – a lot of that information about friends and family became outdated.
Fast forward to today and address books are no longer the only place that you get info about people you care about. Social networks are increasingly the place to see the latest info about your friends. For example, the best source of info about your friends’ occupations and employers is probably LinkedIn. Facebook likely has the largest number and best photos of your friends. And the latest updates from some friends and co-workers might be published on Twitter. It makes you ask, “why can’t we just have one universal address book with the very latest and most up-to-date info?”
This is exactly what we aim to deliver in Outlook.com. We want to be sure your address book has the latest and best info from your friends and family. We did this by breaking down the walled gardens and connecting your email to the most popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) to ensure all of that contextual info flows into Outlook.com. Because ultimately, adding this context gives you an even better communications experience. As you can imagine, this isn’t a standard “connect” implementation with our partners. Instead, this connection requires a deep partnership with each of these services to ensure we can pass billions of updates between our networks daily while giving you a modern, high-quality experience.
So how is it working out so far? Millions of people have connected Outlook.com to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. When Outlook.com is connected to these services, not only is your address book kept up-to-date, but that address book data is used to make your email experience better. Outlook.com shows real profile photos at the top of their messages. Practically speaking, that means a message like the one above is simply more personal when Amy’s real picture is shown. In fact, since launching, Outlook.com has shown over three billion additional real photos like the one shown above. Similarly, because Outlook.com shows social updates in place of commercial ads in personal messages, we’re providing social context to your conversations and showing 60% fewer ads in your email.
Solving the attachment problem by making email work the way you want
Ten years ago, one of the key problems with email was total storage space for all your messages. So it goes without saying that Outlook.com comes with virtually unlimited inbox storage. But today, the worry is often about attachment limits – your limits as well as those of the people you are sending email to. And this problem has only become bigger with the exploding capacity and affordability of digital cameras. To help solve this problem, we gave SkyDrive to every person who uses Outlook.com, including 7 GB of free cloud storage built right in. We also built SkyDrive right into your email. So now, you can send just about anything in a single message by using SkyDrive and you can stop worrying about attachment limits – your limits as well as those of the people you’re emailing.
Knowing that over half a billion messages monthly contain attachments, we wanted the process of attaching photos and files to feel like a natural extension of the things you’re already doing. So we didn’t ask you to figure out how to use SkyDrive with your inbox. Instead, we integrated “Attach with SkyDrive” directly into the familiar experience of attaching files to an email. This makes it very easy for you to use SkyDrive to send hundreds of files and/or large files via SkyDrive instead of using traditional attachments.
So how is it working out so far? Almost half of the people using Outlook.com are already using SkyDrive – letting them much more easily share tons of photos, Office docs, videos, and other large files. And we’re sure this will only continue to increase as people keep capturing and sharing even more memories.
Tell us what you think
With Outlook.com newly out of preview, we’re just getting started. Many thanks for the support so far. We’ve already heard a great deal of feedback and will of course have more news to share soon. We’d love to keep hearing from you on new ideas for how we can continue to push forward.
–David Law, Director of Product Management, Outlook.com