Today, Microsoft announced that it’s email service at outlook.com has integrated with Google Chat to allow users to communicate directly with their G-friends from the Outlook interface. While it’s not uncommon for competing services to integrate with each other for certain components, this integration is one that attempts to use one Google service to pull people from another.
Many GMail users like the ability to chat with other Gmail users while in their email. Google’s network is growing quickly and Microsoft was seeing it as a roadblock to getting people over to Outlook. If you can’t beat them, join them.
According to Microsoft:
In the past, the way you added contact data into an email account or social network was to manually enter all the info or import your contacts from another account. Then, if you wanted to send an IM to someone, you had to invite them and have them accept your invite. We respect the fact that you use many different services and have invested a great deal of time and effort in building those contact lists, and so we believe the best approach is to help you to connect to the services you already use.
Will this be enough to get people to switch from Gmail?