Windows Live Hotmail - © TechNorms Microsoft has taken a cue from Google’s continuous improvements in Gmail and since last few months added a string to new features from time to time. Microsoft has brought Hotmail at par with Gmail, by adding several new features.

Some of the features like push email, calendar, and contacts through Exchange ActiveSync, had been finalized by the Hotmail Development Team after careful planning and keeping the user needs in mind.

But some other usability features like a more prominent “Sign Out” link, a prominent “Reply” option in conversation mode and “view messenger source” in an email were requested by the user community and the developers responded in kind.

Latest Hotmail Features:

Today the Hotmail Team started rolling out 5 prominent features, which would lead to a better user experience in the Hotmail inbox. Let’s look at these new features and how they work.

1) Track packages referenced in your email from Hotmail:

Active Views are a way to preview information right in Hotmail, so that you don’t have to go to another website to see the photos, watch the videos, or find out where your package is.

Emails that include a package tracking number will now light up in Hotmail and display the real-time shipping status above the email, saving you a trip to the shipper’s website.

Track Packages In Hotmail - © TechNorms

The US Postal Service and FedEx is fully supported, and with this new release, light versions for DHL and UPS will provide a link to the shipper’s website instead of full shipping details inside the email.

2) Chat with Facebook friends in Hotmail:

Microsoft is making efforts to integrate social networking features into its various services. The latest version of Windows Live Messenger already supports FaceBook chat and now they have integrated it in Windows Live Hotmail.

Facebook Chat In Hotmail - © TechNorms

Initially, this will be available in the US, UK, France, Brazil, Germany, and Russia, and will be added to other regions over time.

3) Share photos more easily with expanded coverage and new features:

Email is the most popular place to share photos, with 1.5 billion pictures shared each month on Hotmail alone. But attachment size limits have long made the process cumbersome. Over the summer, Hotmail became the first service to let you send hundreds of large photos per email, up to 10 GB of photos per email, by sharing them as a new photo album on SkyDrive.

Currently, this option is only available in the US, but with this release, it will be available in all regions.

Sharing Photos Made Easy - © TechNorms

Since sharing photos or files as regular attachments is also necessary, Hotmail is increasing the total attachment size limit per email to 25MB with this release.

4) View more videos from inside Hotmail:

During the last feature update, Hotmail helped people save time by viewing Hulu and YouTube videos within any email containing a link to content on those sites. In this release they are adding support for two more fantastic video sites – Dailymotion and Justin.tv

Watch Videos In Inbox - © TechNorms

5) Organize and find the important email with Subfolders:

The last but just might just be the best feature addition to this new update – Subfolders. They’re finally here!

The new Hotmail lets you create folders inside of folders to more precisely manage your email, making it easier to quickly find an important message you’ve filed away.

Create Subfolders For Email - © TechNorms

Now these are some really great improvements. Each of these features will benefit people using Hotmail with a more efficient email experience that saves time and is just more fun to use.

In order for everything to go smoothly Microsoft will start by upgrading a small percentage of the accounts while adding the new features, and as the kinks are worked out, quickly roll the features out to everyone. This process will take some time, so if you don’t see the new features right away, rest assured that they’ll arrive soon.

Do let us know what you think of these new features and which one did you like the best? Our favorite is the addition of subfolders.

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