News in brief:
- Microsoft is planning to transform its Outlook.com and Outlook for webmail services into PWAs.
- Outlook.com support is now live and can be accessed with the Canary version of the Chromium-based Edge browser or Brave browser.
- The company also plans on experimenting by bringing Google Drive, Gmail, and Calendar support to Outlook.com.
What seemed like faded news has now been revived as different teams at Microsoft have again started talking about the PWA momentum of the company this week.
Almost a year ago, we heard Microsoft making plans of turning its services and products into Progressive Web Apps, but it soon seemed like a far cry, until now.
Microsoft has disclosed its plans of turning Outlook.com and Outlook from the webmail services to Progressive Web Apps.
Progressive Web Apps are nothing but a sound combination of traditional browser and mobile app experience. These are web-based applications, created with the purpose to help users use them on devices like laptops, desktop, smartphone, phablet, tablet, and more – a prominent reason why a number of companies are also now migrating their website to PWAs.
So, what does this mean? – these apps would seem like a website to anyone using it on a laptop, whereas to a mobile phone user, it would impart the impression and experience of an app.
Though essentially still websites, PWAs include far better notification features, caching, and background functionality to make them appear as traditional apps.
Notedly, Microsoft in the previous year adopted the PWAs approach for its Windows app and these new plans of transforming Outlook into one, is nothing but a clear indication of the company’s intentions of changing its other products into PWAs too, i.e., Word and Excel.
This transformation will enable users to install the Outlook web app into the Windows OS, macOS, Chrome OS, among other platforms natively supporting PWAs.
It is considered an effective substitute or an alternative to the messy Outlook Windows desktop app version or the Windows Mail client, operating as a part of Windows 10.
If you are someone using the Canary version of the Chromium-based Edge browser or Brave, then you can check out the Outlook.com support, as it is live right now, signaling that Outlook.com is on the path of becoming a PWA.
All you have to do is “install’ Outlook.com from the address bar and it would be treated as a native app in Windows or macOS.
Another piece of rather important information is that Microsoft also has plans of experimenting with bringing Google Drive, Gmail, and Calendar support to Outlook.com. The company itself confirmed that it is “experimenting with a small set of Outlook.com users” for the integration.
This could be seen as an encouraging decision on the part of Microsoft restoring the faith of many app development companies in the PWA development.