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Outlook.com – Email Services in the Cloud
The new Outlook.com service aims to reduce email clutter while giving users a one-stop shop for not only sending and receiving email but also engaging with peers via outside services, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Add to that, integration with Microsoft’s Office Web Apps, SkyDrive, and Skype coming in the near future.
It gives business users a taste of what’s coming in Outlook 2013. The new service pushes Microsoft’s Hotmail to the back burner as the company tries to increase its share of users. Hotmail presently has 41 million, which makes them third behind Gmail with 68 million and Yahoo Mail with 84 million users. Microsoft downplays ads in its new service. Social integration is a big part of the experience. You can populate your address book with friends from Facebook, Twitter and others. Status updates and tweets are visible in a side panel, and Microsoft plans to let you make Skype video calls from your inbox.
Outlook.com is tied into free Web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note, letting you make edits from your inbox, says Edward Baig, USA Today’s tech guru. Microsoft is giving Outlook.com users unlimited email storage and up to 7GB of storage on its SkyDrive cloud service.
Google, meanwhile, has brought Google+’s popular Hangout video-chat tool to Gmail, along with new features enabling users to share screens, collaborate on documents, and view YouTube videos together. These deeper ties among Gmail, Google+, and Google Apps mark a big step in the company’s overall ambition of providing a more integrated and personalized Google experience.