Microsoft’s new unified Outlook dream comes further into focus as the company begins rolling out third party account support for its Outlook for Windows preview.
Outlook for Windows previews first hit select devices back in September 2022, but it landed with a nice helping of caveats that continue to trip up a larger migration of users looking to do away with Mail for Windows, Outlook for the Web and Outlook Exchange as disparate email destinations and experiences.
One of the largest hurdles for users of the beta preview of Outlook for Windows has been Microsoft’s limited account support for email clients, particularly Gmail accounts. However, that will soon change as Microsoft Group Product Manager Margie Clinton brings news of support for Yahoo, Gmail and iCloud support through IMAP protocols.
Today, we will begin to roll out support for Gmail accounts to those using the preview of the new Outlook for Windows. Soon, we will also add support for Yahoo and iCloud, as well as the ability to connect your mailbox through IMAP. It’s our intention that every person be able to access all of their emails – in one spot – on any Windows 10 or Windows 11 device.
Clinton promises the same level of integration for third party clients as is present with Microsoft email accounts which includes richer Calendar and Contacts support as well as a more comprehensive editing, spelling and autocomplete platform powered by Microsoft Editor. More specifically, Gmail support in the new Outlook for Windows preview will enable the ability to add multiple shared calendars, support for multiple time zones and a new daily weather widget in the Calendar view.
Currently, Outlook for Windows preview can access and display package tracking and flight info, but it is unclear if that level of integration will be extended to data from Google’s email client. Another uncertainty is if Microsoft will bring over labels and filtering sections from Gmail any time soon.
As for what’s next for Outlook for Windows preview, Clinton mentioned the following features should make their way into the company’s next biggest update:
- The ability to track packages and check in to flights directly from your Inbox.
- Reminders about important messages that still need a reply.
- Search folders for quick and easy access to all of your emails.
- The ability to customize your email density and views.
The update with support for third party email accounts is slowly rolling access out starting today for anyone using the beta and meets the minimum required OS specs of Windows 10 Version 1809 (Build 17763).