Microsoft had recently launched a beta version of its web-based email client MSN Hotmail, called Windows Live Hotmail beta. The new Live Hotmail starts rolling out of beta today where users can sign up for a new Hotmail account, and existing uses can choose to upgrade their current MSN Hotmail account by clicking an upgrade button in the upper left of their screen once they are logged in.
The Live Hotmail has the most significant improvements in the Hotmail client since it launched in 1996, boasting a safer and more user-friendly experience than previous versions. One of the biggest improvements in the expansion of supported languages, as Live Hotmail is launching worldwide and supporting 36 different languages.
One of the most significant features for us was the return of remote HTTP access from the Microsoft Outlook client. MSN Hotmail at one time supported HTTP access from Outlook clients but then dropped it due to difficulties in supporting it. In the new Live Hotmail version HTTP access to you Hotmail account from Outlook 2003 and 2007 is supported which means we can now again incorporate and integrate our Hotmail account into the rest of our email accounts.
Upgrading to the new Live version for me was simple and instant, requiring no work other than clicking the upgrade button. I also upgraded to the new look and feel, where you can switch back to the original look but I had no problem figuring out the new layout in a matter of minutes.
Over the past year I’ve migrated more towards using a Google Gmail account simply because I could not access my MSN account from Outlook, but now this version brings Hotmail back into the picture and will undoubtedly cut into Gmails share offering similar features in a free email account with significant storage and access from anywhere.