Microsoft has revamped its webmail service Hotmail and rebranded it to Outlook. The technology giant took this decision after facing fierce competition from Google’s Gmail and its rising popularity due to its integration with social media platforms. Microsoft’s Hotmail is fast losing users to Gmail. According to latest figures by ComScore Hotmail has 324 million users or in other words 36% market share globally whereas, Gmail now has 31% market share (289 million users)while Yahoo Mail is stagnant at 32% (298 million).
A recent claim by Google was reported by International Business Times that says Gmail’s user base has grown to 425 million users but research companies believe that these are exaggerated figures.
Hotmail and Yahoo – launched in 1996 and 1997 respectively – remained dominant webmail service providers when in 2004 Gmail joined the scene. For next 8 years, Microsoft remained silent but finally it decided that it will maintain the leadership position in the webmail services.
Reuters reports that the new look is clean and uncluttered, featuring lots of white space, reminiscent of Google’s recent makeover of Gmail. Relatively unobtrusive advertisements appear in a column to the right of the screen when looking at folders. They do not appear when a message is open.
Users can link up with their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, to see the latest updates from friends and contacts. Online chat is available via Facebook.
According to Microsoft, the new name Outlook is chosen as it is already very popular in the corporate world where ever windows is being used as operating system.
Microsoft says, 80 percent of mail box capacity is used by newsletters, daily deals, offers, updates etc that makes life miserable for a webmail user. Outlook will take care of mass emails itself by putting them in separate folder automatically. It has all the options to customize the settings.
New look supports cloud technology. It supports Microsoft’s Internet-based products, such as SkyDrive for storing documents, Office Web Apps for working away from a PC, and will eventually have Skype video chat built in.
Service can be accessed at www.outlook.com. If you have an old hotmail account, you don’t have to create a new one.