Hotmail to make changes to keep Gmail in check

Hotmail to make changes over the near future with is Inbox, Document handling and also allowing watching video within the design keep Gmail and other competitors in check.

More than ten years ago when I signed up for an free email address, the first choice was Hotmail. I could use MSN messenger with the same user-name and password and not to forget sign-in to all the various MSN portals. The only other competitor was Yahoo and Inbox sizes were about 20 MB. Gmail set up free with supposedly unlimited storage space and freedom from the usual spam mail.

Gmail delivered and Hotmail faltered. So today Gmail is the dominant email service provider and Hotmail probably comes in second. Today Hotmail has announced that they will bring about some interesting features with Hotmail in the near future.

Some of the changes promised by Microsoft

  • Hotmail’s Inbox will change quite radically with options like reading only mail from contacts which automatically shows only mail from your contact list. We can do the same with Gmail by creating a rule but having such an option with a click of a button can be quite useful. It also shows emails sent from social networks differently and group together as you can see in the image above.
  • Hotmail will also bring in a feature to allow documents to be opened and edited with new Office Web Apps. It does look like they are targeting Google Docs here, especially with is new editing features.
  • A great feature of Hotmail could be to look up videos and thumbnails of videos from YouTube and Hulu which allows viewing of videos from within Hotmail’s interface with just a pop-up window.

Will these steps help Hotmail?

  • These changes are something that mostly are already available for Gmail users. So maybe these changes are a bit too late. When innovation comes across while you are leading the race it actually makes more sense. Innovation done while catching up with competition can mean only keeping up with the leader rather than overtaking the leader.
  • Hotmail does target Google Docs and that is a cause for worry for Google as most people in general still feel comfortable using Office documents rather than Google Docs.

So what do you think? Will these changes being brought about by Hotmail be the Gmail killer or will it just be a passing trend?

Do let me know through your comments.

Link: Windows Live