It looks like Microsoft is finally going to jettison the Hotmail brand. I’d say, it is about time they did so. Hotmail has always had a negative connotation whereas Outlook generally means business. So…Hotmail is now going to be called Outlook.com. Currently, the branding is still there, but you can sample the new look and feel (click here.)
The new look is fresh and very app like. It looks like the Outlook application that ships with Office 2013. There is a healthy dose of Metro in there as well. In fact, hovering the mouse near the Outlook logo reveals a drop down arrow that, when clicked, displays tiles for more features like calendar and people. They, currently, link to the Live branded versions.
Using the new site is pretty intuitive: if you know how to use Outlook, this will be second nature. It is pretty, too.
I’m not going to go into detail here on how to use it, like I said, if you know Outlook, you know this site. I would just say that you will need to navigate around the page as moving the mouse may reveal more options than are obvious.
You will see advertising on the right side of the page. At first, I thought it was part of my email, then I realized it was an ad bar. I’m OK with this, it is not obtrusive and is easily overlooked. If it keeps the service free, I don’t mind.
So far, I’ve not noticed anything missing. It seems feature complete and, for beta, it is pretty fast too. Go have a look around, I think you will like the clean layout and design.