Microsoft has announced that it is re-inventing Windows Live Hotmail, which will be filled with whiz-bang features that will be akin to ‘shock and awe.’ But in reality will these new features really be enough to knock out Google from its Gmail perch?  I use Hotmail because I need a Live account from Microsoft as an MVP; the company doesn’t like to play well with my other choices, so a Hotmail account is just part of the price I must pay — which I believe is a small price — to be an MVP. But I also use Gmail for my news alerts to keep, or I should say, try to keep up on, what is happening in the technology field. Oh, I also have a personal account from my ISP for family and friends.

On its blog site Microsoft claims:

Today, we’re excited to give you a preview of the new Windows Live Hotmail, representing the next generation in personal email.

Email has changed a lot over the last five years. These days, you’re getting more email than ever – email that often requires you to leave your inbox to complete an action; you’re getting bigger and bigger attachments; and you’re using smart phones where you want to sync not only your email, but your contacts and calendar, too. In this post, we’ll talk about how we’ve built the new Hotmail, slated to launch this summer worldwide, to address the needs of the modern inbox.

The changing inbox

To refresh our perspective on peoples’ email needs as of 2010, we spent a lot of time taking a close look at how people are using email both in Hotmail and in other email services today. We found a number of interesting things.

People send and receive more email than ever, but the types of email are changing. In the past the inbox contained mostly mail from people you knew— your contacts. Today’s personal inbox is different. Mail from contacts is only a quarter of the typical inbox today; the rest of the inbox includes mail from social networks (20%), personal business (including newsletters, receipts, and shipping information), and “other mail” (which is typically junk mail or graymail). People made it clear to us that the number one thing they wanted their email service to address — whether it was Hotmail or any other email service — was to help them manage the clutter in their inbox; not just the spam, but all the mail they get that’s clogging their inboxes.

The content of email is different. While many messages are still just text, most of today’s email includes photos, documents, links, or other attachments. On Hotmail alone, people send and receive more than 1.5 billion photos and 350 million Office documents every month. What this means is that people have to leave their inboxes more and more often in order to complete common tasks like accepting social network invitations, viewing photo albums and videos, tracking packages, making purchases, tracking travel itinerary updates, and more.

People want to stay in touch on their phones and on the go. As we all know, people are doing more with smart phones than they ever have in the history of mobile communications. Expectations for mobile email are at their highest and include not just email, but also calendars, contacts, and tasks.

I see some very valid points in that I personally receive a lot of email with attachments. I also receive a lot of email from Google alerts and other news agency alerts I use. During a normal weekday, I receive about 400 emails from all three of my accounts, which is a lot of email to wade through. Most of the email, I must confess, goes the way of the ‘delete’ button — especially from the PITAs that love to send gunk and junk.

But what about you? Do you need a new email inbox to keep track and sync your stuff? Let us know.

Comments welcome.


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