Today, Microsoft is introducing the Outlook.com Beta, an opt-in program that lets users get early access to new features on the web. Think of it as a temporary Insider Preview program, of sorts, for Outlook.com.
In fact, why didn’t they just call it that?
“Today we’re launching the Outlook.com beta, an opt-in web experience where you can try out our newest product innovations,” Microsoft explains. “Recent advances in programming, design, and artificial intelligence have enabled our engineers and designers to improve the Outlook.com web experience in several areas, and we’re eager to get your feedback.”
Here’s what’s new in the Outlook.com Beta today.
A fresh new design. The Outlook.com Beta features a fresh new design with a modern conversation style, upgrade search, and performance improvements throughout.
Personalization. A new Favorites section of the navigation pane lets you keep your favorite people, files, conversations, and email folders front and center. And a new Expressions UI helps you easily add emojis and animated GIFs right from within Outlook.com.
Smarter. The Outlook.com Beta includes several smart new features. Quick Suggestions appear as you type so you can easily add information about restaurants, flights, or your favorite sports teams’ schedules to your email. The photo experience has been improved so that it’s easier to access all of the photos you’ve sent or received and to share new photos. And a new email conversation style makes it easier to manage and preview photos and attachments.
Microsoft says that more new features are coming in the near future, including those for the Outlook.com Calendar and People interfaces. The firm will use feedback to improve on the features in the beta before they’re rolled out to the public in a more general release.
Interested in testing those new features? Just click the “Try the beta” toggle in the Outlook.com web experience.
Don’t see it yet? Microsoft says it will roll out to all Outlook.com users within a few weeks. Don’t want to test new features anymore? Just click that toggle again to go back to the shipping version of Outlook.com.