Microsoft is continuing its mission of getting Google users to switch to its products. And this time, it's not doing it with an aggressive advertisement or marketing campaign.
Microsoft announced today that it is adding Google Chat support to its Outlook.com email service. Users will be able to log in with their Google account, see their Google contact list on the right side of the e-mail window and start chatting with those contacts right from Outlook.com.
Microsoft introduced Outlook.com last July as a replacement for Hotmail.com. The email service has a number of unique features, including Sweep, which sweeps newsletters, daily deal or social media alert emails into their own folder.
While there has been built-in Skype and Facebook chat in Outlook.com, Microsoft said that Google Chat support was one of the most requested features from users.
"One more thing people have been asking for before making the switch from Gmail to Outlook was the ability to chat with their Google contacts in Outlook.com," Dharmesh Mehta, senior director of Outlook.com, told ABC News. "We think this is one last thing people needed to make that switch." Google's Gmail, which has more than 425 million active users, was one of the first webmail services to integrate instant messaging right into the webmail service.
Since launching Outlook.com Microsoft has launched a series of aggressive marketing campaigns aiming to get Gmail users to switch to Outlook. In one advertisement, Microsoft showed how Google scans e-mails for key words and then surfaces paid ads based on them. Outlook only surfaces ads in the main inbox; not against messages and the content in them.
"We don't use the content of your email or your attachments, or anything else that's attached to your email. We don't use any of that information for targeting ads that we sell," Mehta said.
The Google Chat feature will begin rolling out to Outlook.com users starting today. All users should have it in the next few days.