The UX of Hotmail and Google

Truth be told, I use GMail as my primary mail program.  I have been happy with the Google UX lately using Google Talk, GMail, Picasa, Picasa Web Albums and sometimes Google Desktop.  Gmail is very good for mailing lists like jQuery.  Much better than anything I have seen from Microsoft (Hotmail, Outlook, Outlook Express, Live Mail Desktop).  Also their Picasa albums have been very satisfactory for me, with great integration to a well designed desktop product.

Today, I received an email in my Hotmail account.  Side note:  I block ALL email from entering my hotmail account.  It’s 99.9% spam, so I just filter all incomming messages to be deleted immediately.  However, Microsoft marketing emails are not caught by this catch-all filter.  They designed the system so you can block everyone, EXCEPT Microsoft.  How funny is that?  It’s not funny, it’s lame.  But I roll with the punches.  I am an avid beta tester and use the Hotmail account just for signing up for Microsoft beta programs.

The email today told me “Thank you for being a beta tester of Hotmail.  Here is a Gift for you.”  Guess what it was.  A GIF!  WOW!  THANKS!  A graphic!  How can Microsoft afford to give everyone this valuable asset?  They are generous indeed.

Ok, now to the UX.  Hotmail is ok.  B-.  Visually its very pretty, much prettier than GMail.  However, it’s all monochrome.  All blue.  They don’t use contract to chunk the page up so its more readable.  The structure of it is a modern marvel, and they really get it to look and act like a desktop application.  However, if they are so slick with their new XAML and Silverlight flash killer, why don’t they beta a new version that uses that technology.  That would be interesting.

The main reason I do not use it is that the Spam filtering is terrible.  It just doesn’t catch all the spam that is coming in.  Additionally, it is just not mailing list friendly.  Microsoft has to learn something from GMail on this.  You have got to keep related mails together.

So Thank You to Microsoft for the nice sticker.  However, I will continue to use GMail for now.

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