Microsoft’s new Outlook.com design includes better search and more GIFs

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.”

Comments

My inbox runs on domain https://outlook.live.com and I don’t see that toggle mentioned in the article…

Its par for the course at this point. I waited almost 15 months for my inbox to be updated to the "new" style. I don’t expect to see these features for another year…

Maybe, but these two things are different. The reason for the long rollout of the previous experience was that it involved a complete account migration from the old Hotmail infrastructure to the new Exchange-based Office 365 infrastructure.

In contrast, this is more of a user interface update. I suspect things will move a lot faster.

Likewise. Probably a staged roll-out.

My outlook.com is as slow as usual, right now I’m looking at the spinning balls of death as I wait for display settings to populate. I wish they would beef up windows 10 mail app, that’s much snappier and has a much better UI, especially for touch devices and tablets.

Oh, and no beta toggle option here either…

What is with this rubbish of all these useless gifs and obnoxious pictures in messages, and worst of all in message titles, these days? This is nothing MS specific but a plague all over the place that makes things so much harder to process and to concentrate on important things. Smileys are enough, who needs LSD parrot gifs and the likes in their message?

It’s aimed at people who have evolved with visual as their main input in the world. That would be anybody belonging in the human species. A long list of black and white text is not the most natural way to ingest information. People are visual creatures.

Who are you even emailing gifs to? I only ever use email for business or to send files and photos. At no point in my life have I ever thought I needed to send a gif via email.

For me personally it just hasn’t been technically convenient. Now it’s easy and feasible. What makes an email so different you couldn’t send a reply emphasized with a gif?

The context I suppose. I use email for professional work and messenger/slack/SMS/etc for the more laid back type of communication where I’d send a GIF

Why do the emojis look so bad? They should use the same ones they have for Windows.

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