Along with Hotmail’s new interface, the snazzy-looking Outlook.com, Microsoft has changed another important aspect of how you get your webmail: they pledge to not scan your emails to show relevant ads. This perhaps comes after Google received some backlash because Gmail does autonomously scan email content to display relevant ads. We’ve all seen it. You get an email about flowers and you will most likely see an ad for 1800-Flowers.
While Google put some of the privacy-oriented folks concerns to rest after assuring them that its just algorithms that scan your email, Microsoft has taken a completely different approach to display ads: newsletters. Outlook.com has a neat feature that grays out newsletters, which most people ignore anyway. So, if you receive fashion related newsletters, you will probably see fashion-related ads on the right side of Outlook.com.
Microsoft has also shuffled divisions and departments around, so the new Outlook.com isn’t under the money-losing web division that controls Bing. Wired explains it best:
In another sign that Microsoft isn’t looking to its revamped email service mainly as a platform for ads, the company said Outlook.com was not being overseen by its money-losing online services division, which includes Bing and MSN. Instead, Outlook.com’s launch was announced by Chris Jones, the head of Microsoft’s Windows Live division, which makes web apps for Windows. This comes just weeks after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer came to San Francisco to unveil the new version of Office, which posted nearly $24 billion in sales during Microsoft’s most recent fiscal year. Microsoft has deeply integrated the cloud into Office 2013, which will offer monthly subscription-based access. Microsoft is also looking for ways to turn SkyDrive and Skype into moneymakers. In that light, Outlook.com looks more like a gateway to selling software, not ads.
Have you check out the new Outlook.com? Its very clean and employs lots of whitespace, making Gmail look a bit date. You might actually like it and perhaps you’ll end up switching your webmail interface. You’ve been warned.