The Outlook.com calendar gets a fresh Metro face starting Tuesday, as Microsoft rolls out a major new upgrade to this fundamental component of its online service. According to a Microsoft blog post, the new calendar will be available “around the world this week,” though, of course, your Outlook.com account will have to be upgraded first.
Metro look, many improvements
A Metro-fied calendar was noticeably absent from the original Outlook.com rollout last year. Instead users were stuck with a pastel, old-school calendar view evocative of the 1990s. But the calendar view shown today sports the jewel-toned, crisp-cornered Metro look, matching up with SkyDrive and other Metro-fied components of Outlook.com.
Underneath it all, says Microsoft, is a raft of improvements that should look familiar to anyone who’s using Google Calendar. According to Microsoft, creating events in the calendar will now take fewer clicks, and it’ll be easier to jump to specific days and events.
New calendar is more connected
Microsoft also emphasizes the connectivity of the new calendar. Obviously, it can sync calendars across Windows devices, and it also can connect to social networking services like LinkedIn and Facebook, and add the birthdays of people you know to your calendar. You can share your calendar with specific people via e-mail addresses, or create a link to your calendar for wider sharing, with adjustable editing and privacy settings. And, of course, you can import calendars from other services—Microsoft helpfully provides a link to show you how to export a Google Calendar to Outlook.com.
The Calendar updates are a long time coming, especially given the popularity of archrival Google’s Calendar. About 360 million users of Outlook.com are waiting to see whether this new calendar can live up to the expectations. Stay tuned for our hands-on as soon as we get it.
Melissa Riofrio spent her formative journalistic years reviewing some of the biggest iron at PCWorld--desktops, laptops, storage, printers--and she continued to focus on hardware testing during stints at Computer Currents and CNET. Currently, in addition to leading PCWorld’s content direction, she covers productivity laptops and Chromebooks.