Microsoft’s latest attempt to beef up its Hotmail email service to compete with Google’s Gmail by rebranding it as Outlook and adding integration with Facebook and other social networks.
The new Outlook, which Microsoft is introducing as a “preview,” allows users to link their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus accounts, and it also offers an online chat feature with users’ Facebook friends.
Microsoft said on its Meet Outlook.com Preview page:
With Outlook.com, your conversations are richer with photos, updates, and tweets from Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Your address book also automatically stays updated with your contacts from Facebook and Twitter.
And in a post on the new Outlook Blog, Windows Live Corporate Vice President Chris Jones wrote:
Over the past several years, social networks have become an incredibly popular place to share and communicate with friends and co-workers. At the same time, email use among people who use social networks actively has continued to increase. We saw an opportunity to make email better by using your connections on social networks to enrich your email experience. And so with the Outlook.com preview, we are giving you the first email service that is connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and, soon, Skype, to bring relevant context and communications to your email.
In the Outlook.com inbox, your personal email comes alive with photos of your friends, recent status updates and tweets that your friend has shared with you, the ability to chat and video call — all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks. And, of course, you are in control of your experience — what you share, the networks you connect to, and your personal information.