Hotmail to get extensive update this summer

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windows-live-hotmail-wave-3.pngLong since migrated from Microsoft’s Hotmail webmail service to Google’s Gmail? Well Microsoft are looking to rein you back in over the course of the summer, as they today revealed details of a major update.

Taking a leaf out of Gmail’s book, emails will be able to be threaded into conversations in Hotmail if the user chooses. There will also be a Windows Live Messenger chat window introduced, which will allow simultaneous instant messaging conversations with multiple contacts at once.

There will also be integration with the new Office suite, allowing you to make changes to documents, Powerpoint presentations and spreadsheets using the online apps, and then reply with the changes direct from the document. This feature unfortunately will only be compatible with .docx formats however and not the older, and more widely used, .doc files.

Online services like Flickr and YouTube will now feature more intuitively in Hotmail also. Inserting a YouTube URLs into a Hotmail email will now have the relating video automatically embedded into the message. Likewise, a Flickr link will bring a slideshow into the emails.

In a neat touch, Hotmail will now also offer the option of turning data heavy attachments into a temporary SkyDrive link. Recipients of the message will be sent a description or thumbnail of the attachment, accessible by a link that can be downloaded when they choose and that will not clog up their inboxes.

Hotmail also announced that a native Hotmail iPhone app was in the works, though there are scarce other details on this at the moment.

Gerald Lynch