Sunday, 26 December 2010

Microsoft Announces Hotmail Enhancements To Make It Cool Again

Microsoft announced the latest enhancements to its Hotmail Web mail service. The free Web mail service soon will be switching to a new approach that Microsoft hopes will give Hotmail an edge over rival offerings from Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc.

Microsoft announced substantial updates to Windows Live Hotmail on May 18, with an emphasis on tools and features that eliminate spam, reduce clutter, and allow for tasks such as sending 10GB of photos per message. Hotmail will leverage Windows Live services to mine contacts from social-networking services such as Facebook and MySpace. The new Hotmail additions fit with three Web trends: consolidating services from across the Web into a single application, providing that application's services via mobile, and adding new features to an application to make it more competitive.

The new Hotmail also emphasizes a mobile component, with e-mail synchronization between a smartphone and the Web. Research In Motion, Nokia and other partners are apparently building custom Hotmail apps for their respective devices.

The announcement comes a few weeks after Microsoft's April 29 unveiling of the new version of Windows Live Messenger, which also bundles a variety of social-networking services into the user's message stream. This seems in keeping with the Web-communication trends of the past few months, with various companies lassoing outside applications into their existing services in a bid to make the latter more "sticky".

The new features are supposed to enable people to spend less time managing their inboxes and more time enjoying and digesting what's in the messages.

Even as it made relatively few changes, Hotmail remained the world's most used service with 360 million users, according to statistics complied by comScore Inc. Yahoo ranks second globally with about 284 million users followed by Google's Gmail at 173 million users.

Hotmail is being optimized for touch and rich browsers, for easy access on smartphones; in addition, the Hotmail inbox supports filters, in-line message previews, HTML messages, offline e-mail viewing, conversation threading, the ability to flag messages, and the option to turn header details on or off.

The revamping of hotmail suggests, if nothing else, Microsoft is taking its online properties very seriously; whether that allows it to triumph over Google and Yahoo, which are building out their own products with notable aggression, is an open question.


No comments:

Post a Comment