As WinBeta reported yesterday, Microsoft has begun expanding the preview of its new-look for Outlook.com and rolling out integration with add-ins from Uber, PayPal, Evernote, Boomerang, IFTTT, Yelp and Wunderlist. These new add-ins will help users interact with these services right from within Outlook.com, without needing to leave the website or open up multiple windows.
This overhaul in the Outlook.com is more than just a reshaping of the user interface to be more like Office 365, as it is part of Microsoft’s plans reported earlier this year to migrate Outlook.com accounts to the same back-end infrastructure as Office 365. This approach to Outlook.com is definitely more in line with the philosophy of the new Microsoft, that the company is “one Microsoft,” and services should be consolidated for a more universal experience (such as Lync becoming Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business moving to the same sync engine as OneDrive).
To this end, Microsoft announced today on their Outlook dev blog, that they now have a single set of Outlook APIs that developers can use to build apps for both Outlook.com and Office 365. These Outlook REST APIs support mail, calendar, and contacts in both Office 365 and the new Outlook.com.
This brings into focus Microsoft’s desired end result of combining Outlook.com and Office 365, as it creates a more powerful mail platform with greater number of active users which developers might take great interest in. Today’s announcement states:
“This new platform will enable developers to reach 400 million monthly active Outlook.com users, in addition to tens of millions of Office 365 users.”
Hopefully this new single set of APIs for both Office 365 and Outlook.com will lead to innovative add-ins that support new features for Microsoft’s free email service and help users manage multiple services from within a single, more efficient and more effective inbox.
If you are a developer you can try out the new REST APIs here and the Outlook dev team also posted details here on what is and isn’t supported currently in this preview of the new Outlook.com service. If you do try out the new REST APIs don’t forgot you can provide feedback to the dev team in UserVoice.