Is Outlook.com Right for Your Virtual Office Space?

Do you work from a virtual office? Then you may want to check out the new Outlook.com. The brand new web-based e-mail could be a boon for your virtual office.

You should be somewhat familiar with the Outlook brand if you are a Microsoft customer. But what is this new Outlook.com all about and how can it help your virtual office operations?

Outlook.com is replacing Microsoft’s Hotmail.com and it comes with a new set of features and functions that are ideal for virtual office users. Indeed, Microsoft is calling it “modern e-mail designed for the next billion mailboxes.”

“Webmail was first introduced with Hotmail in 1996. Back then, it was novel to have a personal e-mail address you could keep for life—one that was totally independent from your business or internet service provider,” Chris Jones, a corporate vice president of Windows Live Experience Program Management at Microsoft.

According to Jones, e-mail is becoming less and less useful as inboxes become cluttered with newsletters and social updates, and people increasingly keep up their personal connections in social networks instead of their e-mail address books. It could be a virtual office user’s next best e-mail weapon.

“E-mail isn't just about the browser anymore. In fact, e-mail represents 20 percent of the time we spend on smartphones, and is used extensively on tablets as well as PCs,” Jones said. “Outlook is designed cloud first, so all of your mail is always available wherever you are. Outlook.com also uses Exchange ActiveSync, so it powers your mail, calendar and people experience on your smartphone, tablet, and the new Outlook 2013 Preview.”

Outlook.com includes free Office Web Apps, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, to let  consumers view and edit attachments without leaving the inbox. Outlook.com also comes with SkyDrive, so if users are sending photos, documents, or other large files, they can now put them on SkyDrive and stop worrying about attachment limits.

“We don't scan your e-mail content or attachments and sell this information to advertisers or any other company, and we don't show ads in personal conversations,” Jones said. “We let you decide whether to connect your account to social networks, and which ones you want to use -- and you're in control of who you friend or follow.”

If you are virtual office user and you are already using Hotmail.com, you’ll see the Outlook.com transition in the next few days. If you are using Gmail and its ecosystem, it may be time to check out the new Outlook.com, especially if you are already using the desktop software for your e-mail.


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