Microsoft has just released a new version of their Outlook Connector v12.1 Beta which in essense turns Live Hotmail into Plaxo! Previously, you could only connect Outlook to your hotmail account if you subscribed to a paid premium account. However, this new version is totally free!
Not only can you now read and create emails in Outlook with your live hotmail accounts, you can also synchronize your calendar and contacts! This means you can view all of your information with a browser without Outlook which will sync with whatever data you enter in the web version.
Plaxo cannot be happy about this.
Here’s how to set it up
- Download the free new Outlook Connector here.
- Close Outlook and install the connector
- Launch Outlook and you will see a new menu option called Outlook Connector
- Click Add new account
- Enter your hotmail or live account information and click OK
- Restart Outlook
- You will see a new account folder in your Outlook pane:
Hot Tip: Right click the inbox folder in your hotmail/live account and select Add to Favorite Folders to create a shortcut to this account in your Favorite folder view. You will then be able to view all new email total for all of your email accounts. Here’s an example:
Final Thoughts: This move by Microsoft to make this synchronization between Outlook on the desktop and their Live Hotmail accounts is obviously a part of their live mesh and over all cloud computing strategy. Providing this valable service for free is another brilliant move on their part.
Now, If they could only do the same sort of thing with a real live office suite of web apps which works with their SkyDrive online storage then we’ll all be happy! 🙂
For much more information, here’s Microsoft’s Outlook Connectorl page.