Microsoft rolls out major Windows Live Hotmail updates

A few days ago we announced that Microsoft was finishing up Wave 3 of Windows Live. The Windows Live Hotmail team has announced that it is officially rolling out the last of the Wave 3 updates to all Hotmail customers. So what's being shipped with these updates?

More Storage
Customers now start out with 5GB of storage, but what if you need more? Your storage capacity will automatically increase as you need it. The team hasn't announced what the maximum capacity will be.

More markets get POP3 access
Customers in the United States and Brazil will shortly be given access to their e-mail via POP3. All other Windows Live Hotmail customers will be receiving POP3 access in the coming weeks. Click here for more information on Windows Live Hotmail POP3 access.

Advertisements are less intrusive
After month of beta testers and customers complaining that the advertisement on the top of the reading pane, the advertisement has been moved to the right side of the reading pane.

QuickAdd

Another new feature that is rolling out is "Quick Add". During Steve Ballmer's keynote, there was a short demo showing this new feature. So in case you missed the live stream, here we go.

Lets say that you're on vacation or a business trip and you just arrived to your destination. Your friends and family want to meet up later that night for dinner, but not everyone is familiar with the city. So you open Windows Live Hotmail and start preparing your e-mail with the time and place of your dinner affair, but you want to include the address and a link for directions. So you open up Quick Add while creating a new message.

Now you start your search for some nice restaurants for your affair. Once you've found your destination, you can either click "Insert" or "More Info". When you click "More Info" , you are brought to a Windows Live Search page. Once you've entered that page you will see a mapped location and some reviews if anyone has posted them. So now that you've picked your destination, you're ready to insert it into your e-mail by simply clicking "Insert".

So now you have the name, address, and more information ready for your friends and family. That is only one scenario that this new feature will be able to do. Consumers will also be able to search for business listings, videos, and images. The beauty of QuickAdd is that it's automatically loaded when you open a New Message, located on the right side of the message pane.

Other updates
If you've ever used Windows Live Homepage, you have probably became addicted to the "Whats New" feed. The "What's New" feed lists updates from your contacts that use social networks like Twitter, personal status messages, blog posts, shared favorites, and much more. So incase you're not a fan of the Windows Live Homepage but like the "What's New" feed, the Hotmail team has integrated it into the "Windows Live Hotmail Today" splash page when you login to your inbox.

There are 4 (that I can see) new themes for your Windows Live Hotmail inbox. The team has also updated existing themes to better suite its customers.

The last "officially" announced update is that you can now add a signature to your e-mails in HTML.

Now for the good stuff, which wasn't "officially" announced. Last week we covered a preview of Windows Live Web Messenger, which thousands of us have been waiting for for over a year now. Surprisingly it seems as if the official announcement left out Windows Live Web Messenger, but then again I recently spoke to a Microsoft employee who works on the Windows Live Help website who tells me:

"About the Integrated Web Messenger (add on) feature of Hotmail accounts, we can't give you a specific date as to when all hotmail accounts will be updated. I can tell you this though, right now, updates are being done as we speak (or in this case write, no pun intended). It won't be long now and all hotmail accounts would have been upgraded."

So if your account has access to Windows Live Web Messenger, let us know with some screenshots. Microsoft has noted that the updates mentioned above will be rolling out to all Windows Live Hotmail customers over the next few weeks, so if you're account doesn't have them you're not out of luck!

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42 Comments

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I'm not seeing the "QuickAdd" feature yet. Does anyone else see this? If yes...how do you see it? I started a New message and still don't see it.

Thanks

Why would anybody willingly use Hotmail? GMail is so much better, the UI is so much nicer. Best of all, GMail isn't made/owned by M$.

Why would anyone want to use Gmail? Compared to the plain boring white look, you can at least customize what themes you'd like in Hotmail. Also the emoticons are much better. More font size options, etc. GMail may not be owned by M$ (whatever the $ may be), but at least it's not owned by a company that actually looks into your data information and bring it out to advertisers and the whole world.

Quikboy said,
Why would anyone want to use Gmail? Compared to the plain boring white look, you can at least customize what themes you'd like in Hotmail. Also the emoticons are much better. More font size options, etc. GMail may not be owned by M$ (whatever the $ may be), but at least it's not owned by a company that actually looks into your data information and bring it out to advertisers and the whole world.

Microsoft probably has a sneaky look sometimes.

Quikboy said,
Why would anyone want to use Gmail? Compared to the plain boring white look, you can at least customize what themes you'd like in Hotmail. Also the emoticons are much better. More font size options, etc. GMail may not be owned by M$ (whatever the $ may be), but at least it's not owned by a company that actually looks into your data information and bring it out to advertisers and the whole world.

You can customize GMail's look as well. GMail actually has more themes than Hotmail. I'm sure MS looks into the data as well, you just don't know about it yet. And if all you care about is emoticons, then you shouldn't be using Email at all.

I'm afraid I agree with Quikboy. I much prefer the folders way of organising emails rather than Gmails labels method. I also find Hotmail to be marginally faster than Gmail now. Lastly, I dislike Google in general since they now try to force the Google Updater on you for all software downloads.

God, like he just mentioned emoticons so now you judge him by that. Well emoticons are a feature, and maybe he noticed it more than you or the GMail team. I don't care and hopefully nobody else cares, about how lame you think someone is for saying they like emoticons and use them and GMail does not have as good as emoticons as Hotmail does. Maybe because you think GMail looks so beautiful you should just stop using email because that's all you care about. Thats like the same thing, and I think if you have nothing new to say you should just shut your mouth.

I use Windows Live Hotmail because I like the branding, the reliability that Microsoft provides with it, the consistent UI, the promised storage, the compatibility and integration with Windows (including OS and Live), and that's just the start. I like GMail and other services, but really, if Hotmail's protocol was supported on the iPod Touch and other devices and products, I would use only Hotmail. I like my Hotmail, I don't like people who get all serious and rude.

the new limit is 500GB. Clicking on Server Status in Microsoft Outlook with Outlook Connector installed will confirm so

jbonello said,
the new limit is 500GB. Clicking on Server Status in Microsoft Outlook with Outlook Connector installed will confirm so :)

Can anyone else confirm this?

hutchinson_1989 said,
I can confirm 500GB. It's the same for me.

I wish you got a set amount for your Windows Live Account says 50GB and you can use that on any Windows Live service.

Probably because they want to use their own protocol deltasync. Personally I think it's better than IMAP since you can sync mail, calender & contact. Problem is that no one supports it.

NienorGT said,
POP3 is still a joke, there is just Inbox sync, other folders are not synced.

Thats the same for any other POP3 server, it's not a shortcoming of Hotmail. If any POP3 server account has multiple folders on the server, downloading POP3 from your account only downloads the inbox. This is not surprising.

Article:
Customers in the United States and Brazil will shortly be given access to their e-mail via POP3. All other Windows Live Hotmail customers will be receiving POP3 access in the coming weeks.

Brazil seems rather random.

MarcoDigi said,
Brazil seems rather random. :)

Not that random, ever heard about the BRIC? Brasil, Russia, India and China are the countries that are rising economically over others at amazing speeds. Im sure MS has certain plans in there.

sanctified said,
Not that random, ever heard about the BRIC? Brasil, Russia, India and China are the countries that are rising economically over others at amazing speeds. Im sure MS has certain plans in there.

It's BRICK(orea). High economy, lots of corruption. Perfect for Microsoft.

tiagosilva29 said,
It's BRICK(orea). High economy, lots of corruption. Perfect for Microsoft.

Sorry, here in Mexico is Corea, forgot to translate that.

...cause gmail, yahoo, and AIM don't have ads in their webclient...

Live Mail has no ads, Live Mail Hotmail does...like everything else.

Live Mail is just the client side mail app, it wouldn't have adds. I use it now to grab mail from 3 different email accounts etc.

It's the updated version of Outlook Express.

There's definitely speed differences. Tested in Firefox and Chrome and both loaded my Live Mail much quicker. I have no option for Live Web Messenger yet. The themes appear the same for me but I have the 5GB of storage.

Really? I've been getting this stupid problem where every time I open Hotmail in Firefox, it freezes my entire browser and all its windows and never comes back. Right now I'm using IE Tab to view my Hotmail.

thenonhacker said,
I haven't tried it on IE too.

Oh, BTW -- Windows Live Mail has ads?

Live Hotmail does. The desktop client has long lost the ads since its beta days.

This naming scheme is still confusing for people. Not so long ago the online email service was called Windows Live Mail and its accompany desktop client Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta. Now the desktop client's called Windows Live Mail and the email service Windows Live Hotmail, after the old MSN Hotmail was officially dropped.