The heyday of Hotmail has long passed, and people these days are rightfully hesitant to put "" on their business cards -- so thank God Microsoft is finally doing something to address the problem. Microsoft launched its new web-based email platform, Outlook, last night---and it's totally different from the old Hotmail we came to know, love and then discard. We signed up and here's what we learned over the past few hours.

  • The design is much cleaner. It's simply a no-ad version of Gmail, perhaps even better. For those familiar with Window phones, the interface look pretty much the same with a grid-based lay-out. Oh, and you can change a color theme, too.
  • Outlook is not (yet) Hotmail. While is set to replace, it's currently running seperately. You can register using your current Microsoft username, or with a new name (recommended). So far, Microsoft hasn't announced whether Hotmail will be renamed or demolished.
  • It imports all data. You can import emails from your old Hotmail, Gmail or other email accounts. But for now, we couldn't find a function to control the email import - it seems like Outlook is retrieving all emails, including ones from the last century. You can import contacts from Gmail, too.
  • It connects up with social media. You can link your Outlook to social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, Youtube, etc. For example, if you're synchronized with Facebook, it allows you to chat with your friends from the Outlook webpage.
  • It's so new that you can even claim your full and proper name as your email handle. Launched yesterday, only a few geeks know about it. So the earlier you register, the more likely it is that you'll get the email address you desire. Well, all of us here at BK did. 

It seems that Outlook is still in its early stages and some flaws need to be fixed. Anyway, we'll keep using it and expect improvements in the next few months. 

Have you tried the new Microsoft Outlook? Share your experiences in the comment box below.