A few weeks ago I told you I was testing the beta versions of Windows Vista and Office 2007. Well, yesterday I had all I could stand and reinstalled my XP and Office 2003. Nothing went horribly wrong, rather the new features/improvements for me didn’t outweigh the typical beta bugs.
The eye candy – Areo – MS’s answer to the Mac is a nice change. Sexy animations, transparent (glass) windows, drop shadows, etc. are definitely pleasant, but in all honesty that’s it. I didn’t find the new interface any more useful than XP. It didn’t make me more productive – and the search features in Vista and Office rarely helped me find what I was looking for.
Office 2007 also looks nice – complete redesign of the tool bar is context sensitive and a nice change; again sort of Mac like. However Outlook pretty much has the same tired GUI. It really looks weird and out of place given the new look of office; it’s as if Outlook’s is no longer part of Office. I’d hoped for major changes in Outlook, but the addition of a side bar like feature displaying a calendar, upcoming events and tasks was the only useful addition I saw. Unfortunately Outlooks searching capabilities still suck – Nelson’s Email Organizer – Google’s Desktop both do a far better job. Seems late in the game to hope for any major changes in Outlook, considering Office is scheduled for released in November.
All-in-all I’m pretty disappointed. I had serious, maybe foolish, hopes for useful tools particularly in desktop searching or indexing of consumer data. The eye candy is nice, but it wears off pretty fast leaving you with the impression that if MS spent just ¼ of the time spent on Areo, instead developing useful features; maybe they’d have something to be proud