Introducing Outlook Live for schools - and cool new features for everyone

Published Feb 12 2009 09:00 AM 2,828 Views

We've put together a new video, sharing some of the cool new stuff you can expect to see with the next version of Exchange, code-named Exchange 14. Please take a few minutes to go watch it because, hey, we put a lot of work into it and it's no fun if you just skip the video and read only the text!

[Ed: we made some slight edits in this paragraph for clarification]One of the biggest features we're announcing today is multi-browser support for the premium version of Outlook Web Access (OWA). With Exchange 14, you can access the premium version of OWA or Outlook Live with Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. We’ve always supported all browsers with what we call “OWA Light”, a simpler version of OWA. The difference now is that you can get the full rich experience with drag ‘n drop & the rest of that AJAX-y goodness in all three browsers. I have to say, I've been dying to tell you about this, especially after all the comments on our last video! Openness has always been part of Exchange's DNA, which you can see from how we license Exchange ActiveSync to partners and competitors alike, in the variety of mobile phones we support, from the iPhone to Nokia phones to Windows Mobile, in our support for web services, and now in the browsers we support.

But wait, that's not all. It slices, it dices. Speaking for myself, I get at least a hundred (and usually more) messages directly to me every day, that's not counting the additional hundreds that flow in from the various DLs I'm on, that I filter to different folders. And although I am an email nut, I often find myself getting overloaded having to deal with all this info - and I know I'm not alone. One of the things we're doing in E14 to address this is introducing a new, turbo-charged conversation view. Although I get easily a hundred messages to me a day, they are usually part of the same 15 or 20 threads, so I use the new conversation view to make it far easier to keep track of the entire discussion at a time instead of letting the old ones slowly accrete in my inbox. So for me, conversations lets me cut down the items I have to deal with from 100 unique email messages to say ~20 conversations, cutting 80% of the clutter - and we're just getting started on that problem.

Lastly, we're also showing IM integrated in the OWA/Outlook Live interface. This is a first important step towards creating a truly unified client that brings all communications - email, voicemail, and instant messaging - together in a single interface.

The work we're doing on Outlook through the browser enhances an already world-class Web mail experience we introduced with Exchange 2007 (check out the OWA demo in Exchange 2007). In Exchange 14, browser-based email will just keep getting better.

Check out the video and stay tuned for the next one in a few weeks. And keep those comments going - we appreciate all the feedback. Thanks!

The video is also available on TechNet Edge in a number of different formats.

KC Lemson

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