Today Microsoft announced that several of the core Windows 8 applications that ship with the operating system will be updated to include a slew of new features. In the estimation of TNW, these updates bring the Mail, Calendar, and People to the level of 1.0, in that they are now featured to the point of being complete.
The following updates will begin to roll out starting this evening, or tomorrow morning depending on your region. If you don’t see the new code now, sit tight, and expect in the next few days. Now, to the updates. We’ll do this in three tranches.
The Mail application in Windows 8 has never been loved, given that when compared to the plethora of email applications – both web-based and desktop-built – it is out-kicked in terms total features. However, with today’s update, it garners a number of improvements that better it.
Filtering has been improved, as has search; when you search, you can now better find emails that are on the server. This will save you time in terms of loading past messages. The application will still only cache so much on your devices, bu you won’t be stuck hunting as long as you were before.
The following list details, via Microsoft, the changes:
Create, rename, and delete folders.
Flag messages and view all flagged messages.
Filter for unread messages and choose when messages are marked as unread.
Sync faster and more reliably.
Search for mail on the server.
Get easier access to search and printing.
Mark messages as junk mail.
See smart contact suggestions when composing a message.
Add, edit, and delete links when composing a message.
Edit bulleted or numbered lists more easily when composing a message.
Paste in formatted content from other apps more reliably.
Save senders as new contacts.
Read and compose rights-managed messages.
Delete all messages in a folder or mark them as read in one action.
Manage draft messages more efficiently.
Send email from your outlook.com alias.
If you are an everyday user of Mail, those updates will solve a number of headaches that you most certainly dealt with.
Allow me the following analogy: Just as Windows Phone 8 fully featured Windows Phone as an operating system, in terms of its feature set, so too does this update bring Mail into the common core of what might be expected from a message mail applications.
You can now see a full work week quickly. You can also now forward invitations, and bring up a shared calendar view of every meeting attendee to see their combined scheduling openings. Now, when you must schedule a meeting – don’t – you can pick a time in which everyone can actually make the appointment.
Calendar isn’t Outlook’s ability to schedule, but that isn’t to say that now it isn’t useful. Sure, we all use Google Calendar, but for the Windows 8 using population, the following updates will be more than useful:
Find appointments more easily with updated visuals and improved readability.
See your work week at a glance.
See current time in day and week views and when Calendar is snapped.
Check the availability of meeting attendees.
Forward meeting invitations.
Send email to all meeting attendees.
Choose more recurrence options.
Set end dates for recurring events.
We now move to the People hub to wrap this set of updates. Keep this in mind: If you are a daily Windows 8 user, the above and below set of improvements will boost your quality of life. However, they are not an argument to move to Windows 8 itself; if you have a perfect setup, ask yourself if it actually is, and secondly, if this is what you need.
Finally, Microsoft has updated the People hub of Windows 8. Key to this update is the ability to post to a contact’s Facebook wall inside of the People hub itself. Microsoft didn’t drop nine-figures into the company to not rock a bit of functionality, right?
The People hub has always been a mess, with a wandering interface and seemingly disparate – your fuel per distance will differ – information streams. This fix will highlight Facebook in your efforts. That’s not a negative. Facebook remains the key social network online.
Here’s the new features:
See information from your Exchange global address list.
Filter your What’s new feed by social network.
Post to your friend’s Facebook wall.
Navigate to People sections more easily.
It’s key to realize that the above applications fall under the ‘communications’ set of Windows 8 core applications. The Appex apps built by Bing are separate. Keep them distinct mentally. Now, go and see if you have the new code.
Top Image Credit: Dell Inc.