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Microsoft is trying to keep Outlook relevant after Gmail’s huge redesign

Published May 1st, 2018 11:34PM EDT
Microsoft Outlook 2018 Update
Image: Microsoft

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Google a few days ago unveiled a massive Gmail redesign, complete with plenty of handy new features. The update should be available to plenty of Google account holders by now, as it’s been rolling out gradually since being unveiled last week.

Google, however, isn’t the only company to unveil its email client. On Monday, Microsoft introduced its own Outlook update, which focuses on smarter features meant to help you save time.

The Outlook update includes changes to calendar and mail and new features for the mobile Outlook apps.

One of the new features Microsoft included in this release is the ability to set bill payments reminders. Outlook will automatically recognize bills in emails and set up calendar events and two-day warning reminders for each bill.

Outlook will also offer users better way of managing locations and meeting rooms, complete with suggestions on what time to leave to make a meeting. The location and context-aware features of Outlook will allow it to learn from your meeting preferences and suggest locations that follow your habits closely.

Microsoft is also revamping RSVP and attendees tracking in Outlook calendar. You’ll be able to track responses to meetings, regardless of whether you organize them or not, and decide whether you need to attend or not.

Outlook also includes a privacy enhancement feature, as it can prevent others from forwarding the details regarding a particular meeting if you need a tight control on the attendee list.

Support for multiple time zones is also available in the new Outlook, which can help you better help organize your meetings across time zones.

One other neat privacy feature concerns BCC emails. The software will try to prevent you from responding to an email you were blind copied to, to avoid awkward situations.

The mobile Outlook apps will also get a few handy updates, including draft folders sync across devices and Favorite people. Support for single Office 365 account in Outlook is also on its way to both platforms.

Office Lens is coming to Outlook for Android, as is Quick Reply. The option of blocking external content is also heading to Android. Outlook for iOS, meanwhile, is getting Office 365 Groups for OneNote and meeting events in Outlook.

Not all these mobile features will be available to users immediately — check out Microsoft’s full blog post on the matter.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.