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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.
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 But in reality, we all know how this worked out - a lot of that information about friends and family became outdated.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.
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.
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
Thats all fine but you still have a LOT of work to do.
Just the other day I was setting up a Surface RT tablet for a relative. She had never used computers before and I helped her get a new Microsoft ID with an Outlook mailbox connected to the Surface RT machine.
My next step was to give her all of my family contacts from my contacts list in Outlook.com...
Now take a guess how we did that, because it was almost impossible!!
My windows phone was willing to share my contacts to my relative, but the people app in Windows 8 does not import or export VCF files!! Incredible! I was not believing my Eyes when I found this out.
So I thought I would use the website... Outlook.com... Well it turns out that Outlook.com can import CSV files from Outlook (the Office application) but also is not capable of importing CSV files!!!
Som I had to go home and start my work laptop which had Outlook 2013. And there I had to create a new folder for the Contacts that I wanted to export. Then I copied all family Contacts to this folder. After that I exported the content of this folder to a CSV file. Finally I used my relatives Outlok.com account to import those Contacts!
Are you kidding me? Get this fixed pronto. Not being able to handle VCF files should be criminal and a case for penalty.
And when you are at it... When are you planning to support managing the contact Pictures in the people app? ... Another big shortcoming!
It has the lack of social updates services about "People" on Outlook.com. Currently, it's just basic contact book. I have a tentative idea that its ability to integrate social features:
•By default, its display the latest social updates (What's new) of Messenger contacts, when user open the "People".
•Increase the "Me" section button at the top of "People", the user opens it can publish and view updates.
•When choose a Messenger contact (not selected), deploy the two options for "View Profile" and "What's new".
I think it will improve the user's experience, if it can be achieved. Even if the Windows Live Messenger will be retired.
Still no word on imap support or an equivalent solution for mac owners, besides using POP? :(
I have been wanting to upgrade from Hotmail for over a week now. "Sorry, Outlook.com upgrades aren’t available right now." Please fix the issue as soon as possible.
@Michael - nothing to talk about yet, but we hear you - IMAP is our #1 requested feature.
@Robert - we're working on this and hope to have it resolved as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.
Don't forget CardDAV and CalDAV as well. IMAP is great, but there are 3 standards that Outlook.com needs to implement to be interoperable with the Mac, or any other platform. If Microsoft makes this happen I'll be switching to SkyDrive and Outlook.com as they are very compelling solutions!
@Bruno - thanks for the feedback. I think you are trying to import contacts to Outlook.com via a CSV file, right? You can do this. Just go to the People page (http://people.live.com), click "manage" in the top navigation, and then click "Add People". You should see "Import from file" as an option - just click there and follow the instructions. Hope that helps.
Although I really like Outlook.com, I really don't understand why the interconnection between the Outlook "service" and the "app" (seriously, reconsider this ambiguous product naming) in version 2013 (I prepaid Office 365) is so poor. I have issues with synchronizing contacts (not all contacts synchronize - this issue persists since the first public preview of Outlook 2013! - check feedback forums), not all contact information synchronizes (especially Facebook data) and it is impossible to move items (e-mails, appointments) to the Outlook.com account from other e-mail accounts using the Outlook app (it says "the service doesn't support that operation" - however, I tried the same in the free Windows Live Mail and it COULD do that!). Please, fix this until more people prepay Office 365 and will be unpleasantly surprised, as I was, that Outlook products are not one family, but rather distant acquaintances.
Really wish I could use Outlook.com as an Exchange account on my Mac, so my contacts and calendar would sync up. Not so thrilled about IMAP. It's ancient technology.
Also, yikes, Outlook.com mail has been down most of the evening.
What I think write now is, Outlook.com is down :( right now. At least in India
I have experienced downtime thrice after the launch of Outlook.com
No doubt MS has done a good job creating outlook.com
Many of us do not like horizontal tab rows. I like tree style tabs like the Firefox extension
Can't turn off the Messenger tab. (this would stop me using the product on its own) refuses to save invisible setting.
Why did you hide the print command so far down
Contacts list will only display 5 contacts, can't turn off the avatar pictures
Inbox doesn't display the controls at the bottom of the page you have to scroll down.
Inbox font is set and hard to read,
Message Font and pitch cannot be changed and saved.
bcc is hidden
Spellcheck vanished in Firefox
No support for IE6 (yes Ijknow its old but I need to use it on the work laptop)
Can't bulk forward email
Tech support inadequate,unavailable or incompetent
I have found Outlook.com to be unavailable or so unresponsive its unusable since I was "upgraded" nearly 3 weeks ago I would strongly recommend anyone still on Hotmail to move their data as quickly as possible to another provider
This is still clearly a beta product with beta product issues.
Loving the new Outlook.com experience. Actually find it better than the built in mail app in Windows 8. One question though, although it's easy to use the 'attach with SkyDrive' feature to send large files, what I would love is an easy way to save files direct to SkyDrive (without using the desktop app) and probably more importantly, add files to an email direct from SkyDrive. I am trying to forward some large photo's from SkyDrive and currently the only way I see to do this is to go direct into SkyDrive and share them from there. The problem is, you only have space for 2000 characters in the message box and the photos must all be in the same folder.
@Roy - thanks for the feedback - appreciated. As you can imagine, we're also big fans of the Outlook.com and SkyDrive integration. Nothing new to announce, but stay tuned. Thanks!
I don't know where else to post this, so I picked your entry on this blog. I don't know where it fits in in the giant Microsoft scheme of things. If this isn't the right forum please provide that link in a reply. Here goes:
I just got slammed by Microsoft today into Outlook.com from Hotmail. I've been a paying customer for about 15 years. I'm not happy about your company's need to project the image of constant "improvement" even when the changes aren't necessarily actual up-grades or needs. If it ain't broke... It just ends up annoying people like me.
There are a few things about the new format which are good (enhanced search function and... well, let you know if I find anything else).
I realize that the horse has left the barn on this one. So at least here are a few little things I'd like to see you change, or at least make user preferences:
a) Get rid of the blue font. It's hard to read. Black is still the new black.
b) Scrunch up the lines in the inbox. There is too much space between them. I'm having to do too much scrolling to get to the bottom of the page. I choose to read my email on a laptop. I know that for smart phone email readers scrolling is no big deal; they do nothing but scroll all day. I like to see as much as possible on one screen, at one time. This is a pretty big deal for me.
a) It'd be nice if I could select a specific page in my inbox to jump to, rather than have to hit the forward arrow- wait for page reload- forward arrow- wait page reload, etc. etc.
b) Within search results, how about having arrange-by-folder?