Microsoft Corp. is trying to make Hotmail cool again.
The upgrade, expected to be available in July or August, will automatically sort incoming messages into different categories devoted to users' key contacts and Internet social networks. It will also provide previews of incoming photos, videos and other material without having to open an attachment or click on a link.
In a blog post Microsoft wrote, “With the new Hotmail, we’ve introduced practical innovations to help people manage the clutter and regain control of their inboxes – efficiently. What's more, you can manage clutter not only in your Hotmail inbox, but also in your inboxes from other email services like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail Plus, or AOL, all from within Hotmail.The new Home page even lets you post comments directly to some of these sites and update your Facebook status.”
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.
Hotmail's most significant changes will provide new ways to look at photos and videos sent through e-mail. Microsoft expects this feature to be particularly popular because it says 55 percent of Hotmail's storage is consumed by photos sent as attachments.
Other changes are designed to make it easier to send photos, video and other Web content. A new insert bar will allow users to send up to 10 gigabytes — about 200 photos each containing 50 megabytes — by uploading them to Microsoft's free online storage service Skydrive, where they can only be viewed by the recipients of the e-mail.