Microsoft announced recently (July 30 2012) that it is deprecating its Hotmail.com email service in favor of a new version called Outlook.com. This is part of Microsoft’s continued push to make its products more Web-based and integrated.
The best part is that you can now get an example123@Outlook.com email address to replace your old Hotmail address.
So What’s in Store?
Microsoft will continue to explore integrating social media with its products including Outlook.com email accounts. It’s my guess that this may involve more integration of Outlook.com with Microsoft’s experimental So.cl social media platform.
I’m a fan of the new Outlook.com service since Outlook has been Microsoft’s professional email software platform for many years now. So integrating the Web-based email service with the Outlook name just makes a lot of sense. As another plus, Microsoft intends to keep its new Outlook.com service free.
Hotmail.com in the Past
Hotmail originally came out in 1996 so a lot of people are signed up for it and use it on a daily basis. I was one of those people and have been happily using the Hotmail email service since it first came out.
Hotmail was established as an advertising-supported service. This business model was was solid and continued to grow in user base enough for Microsoft to decide to buy Hotmail in 1998.
It looks like the advertising-supported business model has been sufficiently successful for Microsoft to decide to continue supporting Outlook.com email as a free service with ads pasted in strategically.
A great thing about Microsoft’s free email service is that unlike Google’s Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com emails will not be scanned by their system. I have long been uncomfortable with how Google handles your emails and mines them for keywords so that it can send you targeted ads, and I appreciate that Microsoft does not do this. If you don’t believe me, then check out Microsoft’s online privacy statement.
The Introduction of Skydrive
Recently Microsoft added Skydrive as a free service to Hotmail to compete with Google Drive. Skydrive provides users with a free way of creating and reading MS Office format documents.
Before Skydrive existed people would have to buy a relatively pricey copy of Microsoft Office. MS Office has long been an essential part of owning a computer because it is a de facto staple of the business world. Even to this day most document exchanges are assumed to be done using the Office suite of products such as MS Word or MS Excel.
How to get an Outlook.com Email Account
As of two days ago Microsoft has opened up the signup and conversion process for getting an Outlook.com email address for anyone who is interested.
So far several million people have gone through the process in just the first days of the service opening.
To get a new accout, just point your browser to Outlook.com and click the signup option on the bottom left hand side of the page.
Alternately to upgrade an existing Hotmail account, go through the following steps:
- Log into Hotmail as you usually would and browse to your Inbox to view your emails.
- In your Inbox, look under your name at the top right-hand side of the page. You should see an drop-down option called Options.
- Click on the Options menu and you will see a drop-down list of actions including one called Upgrade to Outlook.com.
- You will now see a popup page that gives you some information on trying out the new Outlook.com service. The important part of this page is the button at the bottom left hand side titled: Upgrade to Outlook
- Once you have clicked the Upgrade to Outlook button your account will have been upgraded and you will see the new Outlook.com user interface.
How to get an Outlook.com Email Address
It’s important to note that just upgrading to the Outlook.com Inbox will not change your email address. You will need up upgrade your email address to Outlook.com manually after changing your inbox. The great thing is that you will still get all emails sent to your old Hotmail address. Just remember that you will no longer be able to sign into your account with your old Hotmail ID.
- You will now get an email in your Inbox from Microsoft that explains what you can do with your new Outlook.com account.
- The most important option in the email is the section titled Get a Outlook email address for your new inbox.Upgrading your Inbox to Outlook doesn’t automatically upgrade your email address. You need to follow the instuctions to change your email addres from say email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.orgHere is the description Microsoft gives you about upgrading your email address
Rename your email address
Why rename your address? When you rename your email address, your new ID works just like your old one. Your new mail will go to your inbox, and you can choose to keep your old mail in a separate folder. All of your other Microsoft account info—like contacts, photos and Office docs on SkyDrive—will also switch to your new address within a few days.
- Now enter your new email address and make sure the @Outlook.com option is selected in the dropdown list beside it.
- Click the Save button to save your new email address. You will see a new message from Microsoft as follows:
You have a new Outlook address
Before you can continue, you just need to enter your password. (This helps keep your account safe.) Be sure to always use your new Outlook address whenever you sign in.
- You’ll now need to log into Outlook.com using your new email address and old password.
- Once you have confirmed your credentials there’s just one step left. Outlook wants to know where to put emails sent to your old Hotmail address. The default option given is for Outlook to create a new folder with your old address. I chose this option, but you can also have Outlook just send everything to your Inbox. Here is the explanatory text that you will see:
Your Outlook address is set up
Now that you’ve renamed your account to email@example.com, you just need to tell us where to put mail sent to your old address. To start with a clean inbox, select “A new folder” and all mail sent to your old address will go there. (We’ll also move all mail that’s currently in your inbox.)
- Click the Done button to confirm
Pretty simple and painless, right? I’ve upgraded my hotmail account, and I’m sure you’ll also enjoy the new Outlook.com interface when you upgrade your account and sign up for a cool new firstname.lastname@example.org email address.