Outlook.com users rejoice, the Outlook team is announcing today that the new Outlook.com experience is now out of preview and has started to roll out to users worldwide. All new users in the US will get the new Outlook.com right after signing up while existing users are expected to receive the upgrade in the coming weeks.
The new Outlook.com has been in a preview state for a few months while the Outlook team gathered feedback to refine the service, now using a new infrastructure powered by Office 365. This new back-end will enable many new features and third-party add-ons on the web, but will also improve the experience of users of the Outlook desktop clients as setting automatic replies, toggling flags and syncing categories, inbox rules and drafts are now available. Those who use Outlook 2016 for Mac will also be happy to learn that the app can now finally sync calendar and contact information from Outlook.com accounts.
Among the several new features included in the new web client, it's now possible to edit attached Office documents while replying to an email thanks to a new side-by-side editing feature. More than that, you will also be able to attach files from Dropbox and Box right in your mail with the option to send files via links rather than attachments.
The new email experience also introduces an interesting @mention feature to help you to quickly add someone to an email conversation, and that will also work in calendar invitations. For those who like to keep their inbox organized, folder specific pins will keep important emails at the top of your inbox. Last, you can also expect a better search experience with search suggestions and refiner to help you get to your emails faster.
For those who linked their Skype account to their Microsoft account, the Skype integration has also been upgraded to made it easier to switch between an email and a Skype conversation, and you will also be able to schedule Skype calls like the iOS and Android apps already allow it.
But the more important upgrade to Outlook.com may be the introduction of third-party addons: after already bringing Uber, Paypal, Evernote and Boomerang extensions on its Office Store, Microsoft is announcing today new partners:
- The Wunderlist add-on will let you move “task-centric” emails straight to your to-do list, and you will also be able to share your to-do lists via email
- With the Yelp add-on, you can quickly find local business and add the info directly into the body of your email or calendar invite.
- The Giphy add-on will help GIF fans to easily browse the Giphy library to add gifs to more fun to their emails.
While Microsoft provides a best-in-class email experience with its email clients on desktop on mobile platforms, we're happy to see Microsoft leveraging on its Office 365 infrastructure to push its web client forward. Tell us in the comments if you can't wait to get the new Outlook.com experience!