I have been using Google Apps for some time now and it has proven to be reliable, fast and easy to use. December 7 2012, we learned that Google was killing off its free Google Apps offering and forcing new customers to its $50 a year Google Apps for small business offering.
They said existing [free] customers will be grandfathered but who knows what the future holds. Truth be told, the one service I really use is GMAIL and Drive. I tried giving up Microsoft Office for Google Docs but found myself coming back to Office because it was easier to use and more feature rich.
Seeing as Microsoft has spend a considerable amount of money to revamp its email service, I wanted to see how it compared to the venerable GMAIL (in case I was forced to switch). So this is my personal Outlook.com versus Gmail comparison.
Google offers an impressive 10GB of free storage space for all GMAIL users. 10GB is a lot of space for free but Outlook.com offers unlimited email storage. That's right, no limits.
Microsoft Outlook includes email storage that expands to provide you with as much storage space as you need. Your inbox capacity will automatically increase as you need more space. - Outlook.com storage limit
Recover deleted emails
This isn't a feature I would use often but the one time you need it, it could be a life saver. If you navigate to the Deleted folder, you will see a note that says recover deleted messages.
With Microsoft Outlook, you can recover email that might have been accidently deleted from your inbox. This is also helpful if your account has been hacked, because hackers often delete all the messages in an account. They don't specify how many of your deleted messages how many messages they keep or how far back but its still pretty cool. Contrast this to GMAIL which doesn't have a comparable feature.
Outlook.com gives you mail alias'
An alias is an email address that you can add to your existing account—they’re a great way to use different email addresses with the same inbox.
Aliases use the same contact list and account settings as the primary account. You can create up to five new aliases per year, for an overall maximum of 15. Deleting an alias removes it from the overall count, but not the yearly limit. - link
This is a neat feature that can help improve your account security and control spam. You can use an alias when selling something on craigslist or when signing up to a questionable newsletter. When you're done or annoyed, just delete the alias and your done.
Gmail doesn't offer anything comparable to this. You would have to setup a separate GMAIL account and then configure it to forward emails to your main account. This could work but is a hassle.
GMAIL is the king of SPAM filtering but Outlook.com has a neat unsubscribe trick up its sleeve. It detects when an email is a newsletter and allows you to unsubscribe (even if the newsletter doesn't mention the process).
While they try to unsubscribe you from the mailing list, they send all future emails automatically to the junk folder. Now this is what I call smart filtering.
Try as I might, I could only find one negative about the new Outlook.com and that is the fact that IMAP is not available yet (but the dev team has said it is coming). If you use an iphone, ipad or Android device, you can always use the Exchange sync which works wonderfully well.
What about using my own domain
There seems to be a way for you to use Outlook.com which your own domain name (email@example.com) but I have to test it before writing about it. I'll write up the process once I'm convinced it works well.