Introducing Outlook Live for schools – and cool new features for everyone


We’ve put together a new video, sharing some of the cool new stuff you can expect to see with the next version of Exchange, code-named Exchange 14. Please take a few minutes to go watch it because, hey, we put a lot of work into it and it’s no fun if you just skip the video and read only the text!

[Ed: we made some slight edits in this paragraph for clarification]One of the biggest features we’re announcing today is multi-browser support for the premium version of Outlook Web Access (OWA). With Exchange 14, you can access the premium version of OWA or Outlook Live with Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. We’ve always supported all browsers with what we call “OWA Light”, a simpler version of OWA. The difference now is that you can get the full rich experience with drag ‘n drop & the rest of that AJAX-y goodness in all three browsers. I have to say, I’ve been dying to tell you about this, especially after all the comments on our last video! Openness has always been part of Exchange’s DNA, which you can see from how we license Exchange ActiveSync to partners and competitors alike, in the variety of mobile phones we support, from the iPhone to Nokia phones to Windows Mobile, in our support for web services, and now in the browsers we support.

But wait, that’s not all. It slices, it dices. Speaking for myself, I get at least a hundred (and usually more) messages directly to me every day, that’s not counting the additional hundreds that flow in from the various DLs I’m on, that I filter to different folders. And although I am an email nut, I often find myself getting overloaded having to deal with all this info – and I know I’m not alone. One of the things we’re doing in E14 to address this is introducing a new, turbo-charged conversation view. Although I get easily a hundred messages to me a day, they are usually part of the same 15 or 20 threads, so I use the new conversation view to make it far easier to keep track of the entire discussion at a time instead of letting the old ones slowly accrete in my inbox. So for me, conversations lets me cut down the items I have to deal with from 100 unique email messages to say ~20 conversations, cutting 80% of the clutter – and we’re just getting started on that problem.

Lastly, we’re also showing IM integrated in the OWA/Outlook Live interface. This is a first important step towards creating a truly unified client that brings all communications – email, voicemail, and instant messaging – together in a single interface.

The work we’re doing on Outlook through the browser enhances an already world-class Web mail experience we introduced with Exchange 2007 (check out the OWA demo in Exchange 2007). In Exchange 14, browser-based email will just keep getting better.

Check out the video and stay tuned for the next one in a few weeks. And keep those comments going – we appreciate all the feedback. Thanks!

The video is also available on TechNet Edge in a number of different formats.

KC Lemson

Comments (40)
  1. Abdul Aziz says:

    This is great!!
    For those interested check out Exchange dogfood @
    https://mail.exchange.microsoft.com

  2. Michael Dragone says:

    Looks great! I hope the Outlook team brings these puppies over to O14 or Outlook Live could be our new client.

  3. Magnus says:

    Yeah! This is great news, I just love the presence in Outlook Live!

  4. Jim Long says:

    OWA Premium support for FireFox is AWESOME! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Keep the videos coming – Exchange rocks!

  5. Kevin says:

    As someone who asked for multi-browser rich experience in  the comments section on the last post, i would like say well done!

    Can’t wait for the next post demo’ing all the other features we asked for .. ;)

    Cheers

  6. Chas S says:

    Where is the support for Opera and others?

    Why Open the Web?

    Despite the connecting purpose of the Web, it is not entirely open to all of its users. When used correctly, HTML documents can be displayed across platforms and devices. However, many devices are excluded access to Web content.

    http://my.opera.com/community/openweb/info/

  7. msft fan says:

    how do i get an account??

  8. very cool says:

    that is bad ass.  now we’re talking.  I can only imagine the cool things that are going to be in the O14 Outlook client.  

    keep it coming!

  9. MR says:

    I’m psyched! :)

  10. I tried using Outlook Live on a Mac, amazing how that works!

  11. Wes Anderson says:

    Now you’re putting back IM (after is was ripped from Exch 2000)??

    Wish you folks (or marketing dept) make up your minds.

  12. SMS says:

    This is deep!!

  13. 9JASMS says:

    This is deep!!

  14. Rahul says:

    First you license ActiveSync to Apple iPhone and then to Google, you just released a great new version of Entourage, and now OWA Premium support for Safari and FireFox!

    What’s next, Exchange team?? :)

    This is great news! Now I won’t have to use the IE add-in in FireFox to access OWA.

  15. KT says:

    Thanks for the update, KC.  Very interesting…though, as "Chas" mentioned: any plans for Opera v9x/v10a browser support?  I’ve used Opera for a long time to access OWA at work.  I’m glad to see you’re improving it with E14’s Outlook Live, finally, since no one could argue that OWA was feature-rich.

    I’d like to think your comment about Exchange’s "openness" isn’t the Orwellian definition of "openness."

    (On a related note, I noticed your Silverlight video on Outlook Live still breaks when using Opera.  The Silverlight PM mentioned Opera support was forthcoming.)

  16. Tony says:

    Anyone knows where to get the exmon tool for Exchange 2007?

  17. popewks says:

    As a consultant, i am excited to see the management side of e14, is it going to be based around the same shell as e12? Are we adding any new cmd-lets to the ECS. OWA is probably going to become the preferred client unless people update their outlook in the process of their exchange server.

  18. Exchange says:

    Tony – I expect we will have news about Exmon within few weeks.

  19. Matias says:

    Yes! Please make OWA 14 a BETTER alternative to gmail. I’m sick of losing users to gmail.

  20. Familiar says:

    Conversation view? I’M in your inbox? sounds an awful lot like gmail and gtalk.

  21. Phil says:

    Yes, and Gmail is so sophisticated. For the 1980s. :)

  22. Jimmy says:

    When is E14 scheduled to be shipping? I might hold off upgrading from E2003 to E2007 until then and go straight to E14.

  23. J says:

    Looks great, be even better if OWA on E2k7 was extended to something like this …

  24. EDF says:

    Support for Opera and Chrome/Iron?  Here’s a great way to balance the idea of openness against the reality of business:

    http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/articles/gbs/

    Develop for all, test in most, restrict none.

    Another request:

    To be able to use OWA on my personal phone’s Web Browser (Opera, again).  I can login and use yahoo mail, gmail, etc. on my personal phone, but not OWA.

  25. Lonwa says:

    When is Exchange 14 initially scheduled to be RTM?

  26. DT says:

    The title of the article says "Outlook Live for schools", and I see no mention of schools in the print article after that.  Is there more mentioning of how this is engineered towards education in the video?

  27. Chris says:

    Abdul, what is user / pass for the exchange outlook live dogfood owa link. I must see conversation view!!!

  28. sselaya says:

    Firefox and Safari support is great but how come we dont get those "advanced features" still such as spell check?

  29. MF says:

    Like many others I’m sure, I’d LOVE to see this make it into E2K7!  

    This is really a must-have feature that should have been in the box from day one. Plus it’s awesome.

    Any chance of that happening?

  30. sjmp says:

    Does this mean that OWA lite & public folder support is not going to happen for exchange 2007?

  31. RageGuy says:

    This post is very confusing. Title says ‘Outlook Live’ for schools, text talks about new features in some new version of Exchange for some specific audience, totally disconnected. Watch the video and KC is talking about new features on Exchange 14, and then at some later point she says "Exchange Labs has been renamed as Outlook Live", so what happened to real "Microsoft Office Outlook Live" (http://membercenter.msn.com/Loc/en-us/MOOL.htm or http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/jan05/01-20OutlookLive2005PR.mspx or http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/mool.htm) or do we have 2 products with the same name now? Sorry, but Microsoft sounds ‘confused’ to us, who are outside the ‘chatty’ company.

    PS: Blogs, videos, podcasts, webcasts, screencasts – all are good tools but I think you are losing control over these tools or playing like a child with them, please use with caution and convey a coherent message (pass this on to KC please). I agree you have done a good job in the past, please work to maintain the quality (otherwise people will start tuning off), I think its going south now. Thanks!

  32. Lonwa says:

    So how do you MS guys decide who’s comment/question you are going to address? Am I missing the point of the comments option on each post? I posted my questions over a week ago, and have not seen any reply. That is also the case with most other posts as well. Only a few select comments have replies. Just want to set my expecations correctly.

    Thanks

    Lonwa

  33. Exchange says:

    Lonwa,

    Well, a lot of questions in a blog post like this one (on future technologies) will go into the territory that we are not ready to explore yet publicly at the time. This blog post is not an exception.

    While we are very happy to see a lot of interest, and are dying to answer a lot of those questions (including yours) – the truth is that for various reasons, there is the "right time" to talk about those, but we are not ready to go there quite yet.

    Truth is – when time is right, there will be answers to all of those questions and then some. It is a necessary evil in posts that are trying to talk about stuff that is not released yet. But rather than not talking about next version at all, we instead opt for not going into answering a lot of questions that we know that we will get, and are understandable. Rest assured, a lot more information is coming!

  34. AJ says:

    Whatever you do please add support for more than one exchange account at a time in Outlook.  Not everyone works for one company, especially in this day and age!  The companies I work for are cool with this as neither is big enough to want to lock down my laptop configuration (I own the laptop through the company I own; I’m an employee of the other).

  35. David Dawson says:

    Looks like a solid implementation from the interface perspective. So, so happy to hear about wider browser/platform support. It’s been a sore point personally and professionally for a while. Conversation view is so necessary and bringing IM back is great. I’m sure the Exchange team has learned alot from the advances made by GMail, Yahoo, etc. That’s always a good thing. Not so sure about the name "Outlook Live" but it’s not the worst.  

    Eager to learn more from the deployment/administration side as well.

  36. A Student says:

    I am currently using this service. It works almost as fast as Gmail and seems to be stable. However one problem I did have was trying to get it to forward everything to my Gmail account or change the user GUI from ‘light’ back to normal (it seems to have defaulted to light…I don’t even know what the normal one looks like), for some reason the help file doesn’t include instructions on changing the interface between the two mode and seems to not realize which one I am using.

    The email works fine and I guess I will soon get use to checking 2 email accounts instead of one. It’s just a pity that my uni changed to this instead to staying with the old email service that worked perfectly fine and was able to forward to my Gmail account.

  37. Joey Masterson - MSFT says:

    Hi Student

    First – thanks for taking the time to make this comment, we love getting feedback on the Outlook Live for Live@edu service.

    Second – We have created a new site: http://outlookliveanswers.com to field questions on Outlook Live, I wonder if you could go to the site and post your question there? I know there are plenty of people ready and willing to help you out on this new site.

    thanks!

    Joey

  38. Jon Bradley - MSFT says:

    Hi Student

    likely problem is you have selected low vision somehow which uses OWA Light

    FAQ

    http://help.outlook.com/en-us/140/cc875919.aspx

    1.Login to Exchange Labs with your account.

    2. Click on Options on the Right Hand Corner.

    3. The Options Page opens:

    4. Click on Customize>General

    5. Accessibility is at the bottom of the page

    6. Uncheck the checkbox : Use the blind and low vision experience:

    7. Once after un-checking, click on Save:

    8. After it is successfully saved, log off and close all the browser windows

  39. A Student says:

    Thank you for the replies. I will check out that site if I have any issues.

    However I found a different solution to the problem with only seeing the ‘light’ page

    .

    It turns out that the full version isn’t compatible with Chrome, and some versions of Firefox, and it just defaults to light without telling you. It makes it a little confusing when turning on and off the low vision setting with no result. I eventually used Firefox3.0.8 to get access to the normal page (IE7 just simply wasn’t working, hence why i had to use Firefox) and now it works fine and does what I want it to do.

    It just seems a little strange that some of the options are disabled in the light version when they don’t appear to have any impact on the type of browser. (such as inbox rules)

    Btw, the ‘light’ page does seem a little…broken. The ‘privacy’ link is broken and the image for Microsoft in the bottom right hand corner is unavailable. These aren’t really problems, just funny little issues I noticed.

  40. Brad says:

    OK – so here are a few questions:

    1.  How do you turn that @#!& conversation view OFF?  I’m not a fan… shouldn’t it be an option instead of something forced on us?

    2.  You took away control of the preview pane…  on my laptop, this means everything is crowded into three columns instead of easily read in two.  Why?

    3.  My task folder is GONE?!?!?  What were you thinking?

Comments are closed.