Microsoft is starting to roll out a new Outlook.com beta today. It’s an opt-in web-only beta that is activated through a “try the beta” toggle on Outlook.com, and it should be available to all users within the next few weeks. This is the third design iteration of Outlook.com since it first launched in 2012. Microsoft is updating the Outlook.com design with some subtle changes, including an improved conversation view, and the ability to read and attach files a lot faster.
The new search interface is located at the top of the inbox now, rather than to the side, and it will surface emails and people in its results. Outlook.com’s new interface will also preview files and photos in your conversation list, making it quicker to glance at a particular email with attachments. Microsoft is also making it easier to find people within your inbox, by tagging people as favorites.
In keeping with modern times, Outlook.com beta also includes popular GIFs and emojis that can be inserted into emails along with a search interface to find more. Microsoft is also testing out some new smarter inbox features, including the ability to tag restaurants, flight information, or favorite teams’ schedules into emails. If you’re discussing coffee places with a friend, you can quickly add rich details and location information into a conversation.
Microsoft is planning to add new features over the next few months, including updates to the calendar and people sections of Outlook.com. You can opt-in through the toggle, and it’s also a switch that lets you revert back to the existing Outlook.com interface if there’s some new features you don’t like. Microsoft is looking for feedback on all the features. “Based on your feedback we’ll iterate, improve, refine, or discard them,” says the Outlook team. "At the end of the beta, we’ll bring the best innovations into Outlook.com.”