Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail service (formerly just Hotmail/Windows Live Mail) received a number of updates today. Notably, the new and ‘gradually-releasing’ updates will include 5GB storage for free users and 10GB for paid users, and a whole bunch of feature additions. Check out the post on their blog for a detailed list.
There’s no doubt a huge one-upping showdown taking place in the online e-mail field, and it’s one that has long been, ever since the early days of Hotmail. Microsoft’s decision to up Hotmail’s storage to 5GB/10GB comes after Yahoo!’s “we’re unlimited — no questions asked” announcement and Google’s back=down offer to give GMail/Picasa users 6GB for $20/year, going up to 250GB for $500/year.
From some of the small feature changes to Hotmail include a mail retention increase (for Junk/Deleted messages) and some innovation in managing contacts — i.e. a ‘deduplication’ strategy for those with multiple e-mails. Also, they mention some extra effort has been put into performance and quality of source — two of the most important problems users face with today’s e-mail services.
It’s amazing how Google, in two of the web’s most important industries (search and e-mail) has played the underdog and complete changed the way things work. When Google first started, the web didn’t need another search engine, and when it released GMail, there wasn’t any need for another e-mail service. Yet, Google (the search engine) and GMail are undoubtedly leaders in their respective spaces, and others like Microsoft and Yahoo! are having to pull such moves to keep up. Although, I have to admit for existing and longtime users, Hotmail’s revampation delays any need to switch to GMail. 😉