Hotmail is going the way of the dodo, auk, and dinosaurs. Microsoft is in the works to retire Hotmail and re-release it as Outlook.com. Both websites are working at the moment, but it is expected that Microsoft will eventually phase out Hotmail.com and go strictly with Outlook.com.
It's a bit scary to think about losing an email address. Really, it's a lot like moving away from home for the first time and suddenly having to change to a new mailing address. So we all heard the sigh of relief when it was announced that users will not have to change their email addresses immediately. Changing an email address, especially one you’ve had for a long time, is a scary prospect as you can never remember everywhere you’ve used it. However, should you decide to change your Hotmail email to an Outlook email, any incoming emails to the old address will be forwarded to the new one. But at the moment, changing email addresses is not required. You have to admit, they’re doing their best to ensure that inconvenience is minimal.
Logging in at Outlook.com for the first time, I was greeted with a window saying that “Your Hotmail has been upgraded to Outlook.com.” Also provided was the following information:
Don’t worry. Your email address, password, emails, contacts, and files remain the same—with a few added advantages:
• Outlook is modern—you get a fresh, clean design that’s intuitive to use.
• Outlook is connected—your conversations come to life with your friends’ photos, Tweets, and recent Facebook updates.
• Outlook is productive—you get free Word, Excel, and PowerPoint web apps built in with 7 GB of free cloud storage.
• Outlook is private—you’re in control of your data, and your personal conversations aren’t used for ads.
And, of course, Outlook gives you virtually unlimited storage and less spam—and works on your PC, Mac, phone, and tablet.
So what does this mean for users? The appearance and interface are far less cluttered than the old hotmail layout (one of the reasons I stopped using Hotmail, in fact). Sending and receiving email will work as it did before. The social integration feature will be a bonus for those who like to be tied in to their Facebook page and Twitter account all the time. For those who aren’t into being 100% linked in, you do have the option to turn that feature off. Windows live messenger is also easily accessible from email.
“Hotmail was at times an albatross and a best-kept secret about Microsoft.” Probably the most apt description of the old Hotmail that I’ve come across. When Hotmail first launched, it was great. Web-based email was ground-breaking and everyone scrambled to sign up for an account. However, with the rising popularity of other web-based emails, like Yahoo or Gmail, Hotmail couldn’t compete without a significant overhaul. With the new changes, I think Outlook.Com will put Microsoft squarely back on the email playing field.