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Microsoft Unveils Updated Version Of Windows Live Hotmail

Microsoft announced this morning that it will be rolling out a number of enhancements for its Windows Live Hotmail service, focusing on helping people to reduce the clutter in their inboxes.

The software giant will be looking at integrating the service with its other online properties like Skydrive - which becomes its document repository by default - and for the first time ever, will offer native viewing and editing of Microsoft Office documents from within Hotmail itself in any compatible browsers without any additional software.

However, should they want to edit more complex documents, they'll have to install a Silverlight plugin, Microsoft's equivalent of Flash.

Hotmail currently has 350 millions email accounts with Gmail and Yahoo being its main competitors. And many may argue that Microsoft is learning from the popular Google's web-based Docs service after it launched Office Web and now connecting hotmail to it.

David Law, Windows Live Product Marketing Manager, said in a statement that "Whether it’s organising events, managing commercial transactions, searching for jobs, sharing photos, or communicating with friends and family, the new Hotmail will help increase personal productivity."

Perhaps Hotmail's most intriguing new feature is one called sweep which is a virtual broom which can errr.... "sweep" all unwanted emails out of your inbox and even emails from connected Gmail and Yahoo! email accounts.

We suspect that Sweep could be based on some fuzzy logic algorithm that learns from the user's habit and could have some radical effect on users' and senders' email processes.

You can find more about this new version of Hotmail here (opens in new tab).

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.