Outlook.com Experiment (Part 2)
So it has been a few months and I actually stuck with Outlook.com up until recently switching back to Gmail. Outlook.com is a great platform, it just lacks a few minor features that I couldn’t get over. There were a few things I did find I missed from Outlook when switching back to to Gmail though also.
For starters, I still use my Outlook account for all my Microsoft services. I found there to be several bugs with switching your email alias to a different one if you already have a Windows Phone device registered to your Outlook email. Not a huge deal, I just forward my Outlook emails to my Gmail again now.
Now for the main differences that made me switch back…
Outlook did make me envy the clean and simplistic feel that an email client should feel like. Gmail started as a simple effective email with nearly endless storage, and Outlook came along and made it cleaner, smoother, and promised not just nearly endless storage, but literally endless storage. I must admit it was a tough decision to switch back and I feel I may try this experiment again not too far into the future to see how it is. Ultimately there were only a few differences that made me switch back and if Outlook could match and or beat Gmail in these, then I would never look back and easily switch.
The first feature is the ability to message people via SMS in the chat windows. I regularly am chatting with someone and then switch to SMS if they have to leave their computer for any reason. This feature, while not the only showstopper, turned out to be something I missed greatly.
Sadly this feature got removed even from Gmail recently. I hope it comes back to one of the platforms again soon!
Another thing I did to compare the two was test their relative speeds doing simple tasks.
I began with the first task was to find an old email with a very unique string in the body of the message and making sure both email providers could locate the desired message. While I could post the results of each of them, it would be mostly useless since time and time again they both found the messages just fine. While not entirely scientific, the look and feel of the suggested searches in Gmail did seem to be more accurate in steering me to the desired message faster.
The second part of this round of testing, which led me back towards Gmail, was the speed. While neither was slow by any means, Gmail more often than not was faster.
So this may make me seem crazy, but the difference was often around 1-2 seconds. But when you compare this to the total time it took the search, this seems more noticeable. Gmail would often return the results under one second, while Outlook would take 1-3 seconds. I must admit though the more I used it, the better it got. I am not sure if this is it learning from me, or me learning to search better, either way I see Outlook catching up in this field fast!
The second category I tested the two providers heavily on was filtering. While I must admit at first I was a bit biased to the quick filtering of labels in Gmail, I quickly fell in love with Outlook’s categories. This round I must declare a draw, because after you begin to use Outlook’s categories it quickly matches any Gmail label.
This part, which may be trivial for some, is user identity. I have established my previous email address as my de facto standard email address to reach me, login in for sites, and for identifying me on the interwebs.This being the case I found it hard to switch completely and use my new email address.
Archival vs Deletion
Sadly this last part is what ultimately made me switch back. I personally use a Windows Phone (Nokia Lumia 1020) and love that when I hit delete on my email app using my Gmail account it actually archives the mail and doesn’t truly delete anything. I keep all of my Gmail for future reference (you never know when you do need it) and it makes it easy to do this with just using the quick delete button.
Overall both are great services, but for now I am back with Gmail.