In May, Microsoft unveiled a massive Outlook.com update, featuring new Inbox, collaboration, and calendar features. But that update was only made available in preview “to a small group of customers.”
Today, the preview is expanding to a broader audience. Microsoft also said it has made enhancements to the service “based on feedback from our initial set of preview users.”
The other big highlight today is add-ins. Microsoft previously announced that third-party add-ins were coming (first-party ones include Bing Maps, My Templates, and Suggested Meetings), specifically naming Uber, Boomerang, and PayPal. Now, it has also announced Evernote, Yelp, IFTTT, and Wunderlist add-ins (though that last one is technically first-party now).
If you have the Outlook.com preview, the Uber, PayPal, Evernote, and Boomerang add-ins are available in Outlook 2013 and Outlook on the web, and coming to Outlook.com within the next month. Here is what you can expect from each.
The Uber add-in lets you grab a ride to your meeting or event. Just set up an Uber ride reminder for any calendar event with a single tap, and it will show up on your phone with the destination already set. You can then swipe the notification, confirm your Uber ride, and your car will be on its way.
The PayPal add-in lets you pay or send money directly from your inbox. It’s as easy as sending an email.
The Evernote add-in lets you share your work with colleagues. Start composing an email, use the add-in view to find the note you want, and hit send. You can also clip emails from Outlook straight to Evernote, where you can then save them in notebooks and add tags.
The Boomerang add-in lets you schedule emails and get a reminder if your email doesn’t receive a response. You can even add a smart calendar assistant that lets you schedule meetings and share your real-time availability.
The other three add-ins are “coming soon.” IFTTT will let you automate tasks and take action on your email (like add a weather report to your calendar at 6 a.m. every day or automatically send a notification to your phone when you receive an important email). Yelp will find and suggest restaurants (pictures, reviews, restaurant addresses, and phone numbers available for easy inserting), and Wunderlist will let you create to-dos right from your email.
Microsoft is betting a lot on add-ins, hoping they will help the future of Outlook. For now, only partner add-ins are available, but you can also build your own using the Outlook API.