Hotmail is going to get some improvements soon as part of a major overhaul of Windows Live (dubbed Wave 4), including some brand new features in an attempt to compete better with rivals Yahoo and Google.
A new feature is the ability to share photos and documents using web applications right in the email. Services like SmugMug, Flickr, YouTube and Hulu will be able to be seen with one click without opening to a new tab or window, while document editing is integrated with Office Web Apps on SkyDrive, similar to Google’s Gmail and Docs arrangement.
Cleaning up is also a breeze with the “sweep” option, cleaning up clutter with simple clicks without having complex rules managing your mail, while there will be filters to sort from unread mail to mail from groups and contacts. Also, following on from Gmail, all emails will be grouped together in a IM conversation-style, while the mailbox has returned to a two-column design, not the three column design that is active.
According to the Windows Blog, other changes include how contacts and subfolders are managed, the storage on each account, multiple e-mail accounts, full-session SSL and new account protection features.
Also new is the integration of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, allowing phones like the iPhone to push emails, calendar and contacts to phones. However, only few phones allow multiple connections – like the Pre – but many Windows Phone 7 phones should be supporting it as well.
Mobile users will also see a revamped mobile site, which will be more graphical and user friendly to current phones, including the iPhone, including have a quick preview of the message by hitting an arrow. HTML messages will also be seen, instead of reading it from text. Essentially, what you get on the desktop will be on the mobile site.
Images can be seen below: