Muy Caliente: 8 Fiery New Features In Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot

Microsoft on May 18 unveiled a host of new features as part of its revamped Windows Live Hotmail offering. The most widely used free Web-based email -- which boasts more than 8 billion messages per day -- was due for a refresh. Hotmail Product Manager Walter Harp said the new Hotmail updates, many of which will be available in June, focus on three key areas that needed a makeover: helping users manage inbox clutter, save time on e-mail tasks and make it easier to work with Microsoft Office 2010 and Web Apps.

Here is the home page for the new Windows Live Hotmail, which offers a summary of the most important mail in the inbox like social network updates, e-mail from friends and contacts, appointments and more. It also reveals photo streams from social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and Twitter. The home page lets users comment on friends' status as well. And if social networking isn’t the task du jour, users can just click right into their inbox to get e-mail rolling.

Click Out The Clutter

Using the tabs at the top of the Hotmail inbox, users can filter messages to see messages from their contacts; social network updates from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more; or mail from group mailing lists. Users can also use the ’one-click’ feature and click once to see all messages that have links to photos or photos attached, messages with attached Microsoft Office documents, shipping updates or flagged messages.

Sweep It Up

The new "Sweep" feature in the Windows Live Hotmail update lets users get rid of unwanted messages from specific senders in one fell swoop without having to select each one in the inbox. With the ’virtual broom,’ users can avoid creating rules around messaging and easily select all messages from a single sender to be swept into a certain folder or deleted. Incoming messages can also be swept automatically so they never reach the inbox. Hotmail also offers the ability to sweep Gmail and Yahoo Mail Plus inboxes.

Are You Sure?

Here is a pop-up message to make sure the e-mails selected for sweeping should really be swept. Consider it a "just in case."

Stay In The Box

Using the Active View feature (shown here), users of the revamped Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail can view Web sites, photos and other content directly from their inbox. Photos from Flickr and other photo sites can be previewed without navigating away from the Hotmail inbox.

More Photo Sharing

The new Hotmail also automatically shows previews of photo attachments and lets users view them as a slide show without leaving the inbox.

In addition, users can share photos without sending large e-mail attachments to bog down inboxes. Instead, photos can be sent through e-mail using Windows Live SkyDrive, a cloud-based photo offering. Users can now send up to 200 photos, each up to 50 MB in size, from a single e-mail. Photos are uploaded once and converted into an online album. Recipients can preview photos, view a slide show or download certain photos. Photos can also be tagged and users can make comments.

Live From Your Inbox ...

Windows Live Hotmail now offers the ability to watch video directly from the inbox from services like Hulu and YouTube. No more clicking links and navigating away.

Microsoft also has added the ability to view package shipping updates, social network updates and photos within e-mail messages.

Documents On The Go

Microsoft’s revamped Windows Live Hotmail adds the ability to leverage Office documents in the cloud. Like with photos, if a user receives a document it can be opened using Office Web Apps (part of Office 2010) directly in Hotmail. Users can send up to 200 Office documents of up to 50 MB each; send PowerPoint presentations embedded with video; Word documents with images; and more.

Documents also can be attached in an e-mail and stored to SkyDrive, which lets users access it from anywhere. Documents can be edited and SkyDrive will track and store older versions of documents so users can go back to previous edits.