Redmond (WA) – Microsoft has upgraded its 9-year-old free Hotmail email service by adding a larger mailbox and extra connectivity. Users will now have mailboxes starting at 2 GB and can access their emails and contacts through mobile phones and even Microsoft Outlook.
Microsoft says this is a “most significant” upgrade to the service since its 1996 inception. The service boasts 280 million active email accounts and older Hotmail customers can upgrade to the Windows Live Hotmail account by clicking the “Join Windows Live Hotmail” button on their Hotmail screens.
Connectivity is the name of the game with the updated Hotmail and perhaps the most useful feature is the Outlook Connector which allows people to view and manage their Hotmail accounts from within the Office Outlook program. This feature will be available later this month. Mobile phone users will also be able to access their Hotmail accounts with most web-enhanced phones.
Microsoft is also touting two new safety features. One is the “Safety bar” which turns yellow if the mail is from an unknown sender and red if it is potentially fraudulent. Users will also have a one-click delete and report spam button.