The bar in free web-based email has just been raised – this time
by Microsoft. The software giant in Redmond on Wednesday said that it would
bump its 2GB storage limit for Hotmail users up to 5GB.
The storage race may have started with Gmail, but now Google’s
webmail service sits in last spot of the “big three” with under 2.9GB of
storage. Yahoo still leads the pack with its advertised unlimited storage.
More than twice the storage isn’t the only thing new for
Hotmail users. As noted by Hotmail program manager Ellie Powers-Boyle’s blog,
the webmail should now respond to user commands faster. “We’ve spent more time
in this release identifying what parts of the product are slowest and fixing
those. We hope that you notice an improvement when this update is released to
your account, and we’ll continue our work on performance in future releases,”
Hotmail users with multiple contact entries for the same
person will find that the new version will have consolidated all duplicates
into one. Powers-Boyle gives the example, “If you get a message from ‘Steve
Kafka’ and click “add contact” but there’s already a Steve Kafka, we’ll let you
know and let you add Steve’s other e-mail address to your existing ‘Steve Kafka’
contact entry. We’re just trying to be smarter to make your life easier and
faster. There’s also a wizard you can run to clean up your existing duplicate
Hotmail has also taken a page from Gmail’s playbook and now blocks
images and links in messages from unknown senders as protection from spammers
and phishing scams. The new version also opens up email forwarding, but free
accounts may only forward to other Hotmail accounts – and area that Gmail is
Another feature that should please Hotmail users is now the option
to turn off the “Today” page. Powers-Boyle said that the feature to see the
inbox immediately was a product of listening to user demands, writing, “I hope
you remember this as the Hotmail team listening to what you want.”
The Hotmail team says it will continue to add improvements
according to user feedback.
quote: so while this is nice, MS is again not first.