Microsoft Wants Hotmail to be Hot Again

Microsoft’s Hotmail online email service claims to be the world’s largest, with over 360 million users. However, it’s no secret that Hotmail is getting pretty long in the tooth—and faces stiff competition from the likes of Yahoo Mail and Google’s Gmail. Now, Microsoft is previewing its next version of Hotmail, due to launch this summer. The update will be a major revamp to the service aimed at improving message management, making it simpler to deal with attachments and media, playing better with mobile devices, and—eventually—tying in with Microsoft’s Web-based office applications.

microsoft wants hotmail to be hot again photo view  may 2010

“Email has changed a lot over the last five years,” wrote Microsoft’s Dick Craddock in a blog post announcing the new Hotmail. “These days, you’re getting more email than ever—email that often requires you to leave your inbox to complete an action; you’re getting bigger and bigger attachments; and you’re using smart phones where you want to sync not only your email, but your contacts and calendar, too.”

Hotmail’s new inbox aims to be more useful to people by letting folks group messages by thread or conversation (a feature that’s long been available in Gmail), as well as quickly filter on messages from particular sources (like Facebook, Amazon, or mailing lists). The Inbox will display a quick summary of new items grouped by category (contacts, social updates, and flagged items), and a new “sweep” feature lets users quickly get rid of legitimate mail that they don’t really want—like updates from retailers you aren’t shopping with anymore to that annoying constant stream of photos of your friend’s “cute puppy” that long ago turned into an ugly mutt.

Hotmail will also feature an “Active View” feature that will preview message attachments and enable users to see images as a slideshow in a single click—and it’ll work not just for photos sent as attachments but also for photo links shared through services like Flickr and SmugMug. For sending photos, Hotmail will tap into Windows Live SkyDrive so users can send as many as 200 photos in a message without worrying about bandwidth and storage limits: recipients get a link to an online album where they can peruse the photos at their leisure (and, undoubtedly, Microsoft can hit them up to install Silverlight or sign up for services).

Eventually, users will be able to open attached Office documents using Office Web apps, although that integration isn’t expected to roll out until this fall.

The update should help HotMail keep up with the likes of Gmail and Yahoo Mail (which is the leading online email provider in the U.S. market, according to Comscore), and the ability to tie in with Windows Live services and the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 will undoubtedly appeal to customers ensconced in the Microsoft universe. But as with many things, the Hotmail revamp feels more like Microsoft is playing catch-up to other Internet companies, rather than innovating new and useful features; still, for a free service, it’s hard to complain too much.

microsoft wants hotmail to be hot again active view  may 2010

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.

Getting Windows 10 updated doesn't have to be so painful

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.