If you’ve logged into your Hotmail account in the past few hours, chances are you’ve been greeted with a message from the Outlook Team noting that the service has been renamed to Outlook.com:
As an existing Hotmail user you have the option to get an Outlook.com email address, while the original Hotmail address email will still be delivered in your inbox.
Some of the highlights of the new service include the following:
Office and SkyDrive: Outlook.com comes with free Word, Excel, and PowerPoint web apps built-in, plus 7 GB of free cloud storage with SkyDrive for sharing photos, videos, or other large files without huge attachments.
Social connectivity: With Outlook.com, your conversations are richer with photos, updates, and Tweets from Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Your address book also automatically stays updated with your contacts from Facebook and Twitter.
Clean inboxes: Outlook.com’s streamlined inbox is, of course, great at handling spam. Even better, outlook.com lets you get through your inbox with fewer clicks. It has simple, automated tools for sweeping out the newsletters and daily deals messages you don’t want.
After 16 years of Hotmail, the brand is moved out in favor of Microsoft’s business email brand Outlook in the form of outlook.com.
What difference will this make for email marketers?
You might expect a new service, new render engine change: but that is not the case. Outlook.com will still use the same render engine used by Hotmail, so no changes there.
Changes include the following:
- Email marketing pros will see outlook.com addresses appear in their lists soon.
- Because of the above, the portion of Hotmail.com addresses will shrink as people switch.
- Unsubscribes include automatic blocking: resending to an address that has been unsubscribed means that any following email marketing messages from that same source will be moved to the Trash.
- Social network integration means the opportunity to run outlook.com specific social email campaigns to have people share cool content with their contacts.
- Ads will be served based on keywords in commercial emails: in personal emails other ads will be served. This way Microsoft will not become ‘the Gmail man‘. Microsoft will be running advertising on your advertising, in this case.
Just a month ago, Gmail became the biggest online webmail service with 425 million users: we’ll keep an eye on the new Outlook.com service to see if it will be able to improve the reputation Microsoft had with Hotmail and bring back users to its webmail service.
All info from the Outlook.com preview website can be found here. The Outlook Blog has an article describing the new service here.
RIP Hotmail 1996 – 2012: it’s been fun.