Windows Live Hotmail is a web based email service supplied by Microsoft. Hotmail is a part of Microsoft’s Windows Live collection of applications. The application comes with a simple interface that lets the user manage their incoming and outgoing email messages. Users can send messages from other email addresses through Windows Live Hotmail. Files can also be attached and sent (as long as they are no larger than 10 GBs per email). Built in security measures help protect users from scammers, spam and viruses. A quick view option lets the user sort their messages by contact, social updates or emails that contain an Office document or photograph attachment. A built in search lets the user find past emails quickly. Users can also set up an auto responder service that responds when they are away for long periods of time.
Windows Live Hotmail was founded by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia. The application was launched as HoTMaiL in July of 1996. The original name is a reference to HTML. Hotmail is recognized as one of the earliest web based email services offered. The application did not begin its life as a Microsoft product, but was acquired by the company in 1997 for around $400 million. It was promptly rebranded as MSN Hotmail and later was referred to as Windows Live Hotmail. 364 million users were counted by comScore in August of 2010.
Windows Live Hotmail offers users just about everything they need to manage and send emails. The application doesn’t offer anything terribly new. Some users have noted the application’s user friendly interface as a strong selling point, despite the fact that the user cannot tag mail. The application has also had a bad history of losing emails in the past. For some, the application’s association with Windows Live is an appealing characteristic.
New users are greeted by a well-organized interface that may get a little overwhelming for users with a full inbox. Messages are listed down the center of the page with folders and messenger tools positioned in the left hand side bar. Each item is easy to find, however the user will find little in terms of eye candy within Hotmail’s interface. The look of the application works for this type of basic email service, however it doesn’t provide the user with a memorable experience.
A new user can create a Windows Live Hotmail account by clicking the grey “Sign Up” button along the left hand side of the homepage. The site asks the user if they would like to use an existing email address to sign in to Windows Live or create a new MSN Hotmail address. After clicking the “No” radio button, the user is asked to provide their country location, desired Hotmail email address, password, a security question, first and last name, gender, date of birth, state, zip code, time zone and optional alternate email address.
Windows Live Hotmail is available to all users for free. The user only has to create a Windows Live account to establish a new Hotmail email address. All users are given the same level of access and can check their messages any time from any computer with an internet connection. The free price is right where it should be for the level of service the user receives. The application contains many basic email functions but little else to justify a subscription fee.
Windows Live Hotmail is a good resource for anyone who wants a basic email service. The application is easy to learn and provides the user with convenient web based access. The user can visit as often as they like and the application supports email attachments. Sorting features let the user quickly find specific messages and files while the built in search helps the user keep their inbox accessible.