Hotmail thanks you for a great 15 years

Hotmail thanks you for a great 15 years

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This past Monday, July 4th, the Hotmail team celebrated our 15th birthday! This is a big milestone for us, and we thought it was a good time to look back at the past year and share how some of our recent changes are being used. The first 15 years have been busy, and none more so than this past year; we’ve already had seven releases in 2011 – each filled with many new features. And today, we’re excited to tell you about the eighth set of new features this year, which we’re rolling out now.

A year in review

A year ago, we were proud to introduce a significantly improved Hotmail, which brought many substantial new features and capabilities to Hotmail.

  • Your inbox became more instant with quick views, filters, and conversation threading, and we created Sweep to change the way you clean up your inbox. To date, our customers have used the feature millions of times and swept hundreds of millions of messages out of their inboxes.
  • You got new ways to get more done in email with Active Views and photo mail so that the content in your email was put front and center. Over 500 million photos* have been sent through photo mail already.
  • The power of Office was brought right into your inbox with a new Quick View for documents and built-in support for Office Web Apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Over 40 million people use Office Web Apps in Hotmail every month.
  • Our SmartScreen technology gave our customers the best spam protection in any web-based email service. Hotmail now filters more than 98% of spam, which means that SmartScreen blocks 5.5 billion spam messages every day.

This past fall, we gave you even more Hotmail updates:

  • To further protect your account, we released a number of important security upgrades, such as single-use codes for signing in from an unsecured location, and the use of the trusted senders icon to help you know whether email messages are safe.
  • We added sub-folders and the ability to send 25 MB attachments, and we added more Active Views, including more support for videos and shipping notifications.
  • We enabled Exchange ActiveSync, which lets you sync your email, calendar, and contacts to your smartphone – whether that’s a Windows Phone, iPhone, or Android phone. And for your mobile browser, we added a mobile version of our Calendar service.
  • We gave you the ability to turn on full-session SSL if you want an extra layer of protection when using Hotmail, particularly from an unsecured wireless network.

We’ve had a busy start to 2011

Many of you have told us that you want to see Hotmail ship more features more often. We hear you loud and clear, and that’s definitely something we’ve already started this year with seven releases in the last six months – each one containing many new features for customers and often a lot more under the hood.

  • You got aliases, so you can add new email addresses without the hassle of multiple accounts. Over 3 million aliases have already been created.
  • Facebook chat was rolled out worldwide so that every Hotmail customer could chat with their Messenger and Facebook friends right from their Inbox. Over 5M people are already chatting with their Facebook friends from Hotmail.
  • You have more proofs that help protect your Hotmail account from theft by helping verify that you’re the real owner of your account, and you can more quickly take back control in a situation where someone steals your identity.
  • You now have taskbar pinning, desktop notifications, and jump list support with IE9 so Hotmail works even more like an app.
  • Your emails from LinkedIn, Posterous and LivingSocial can now be Active Views and be a lot more interactive and up to date. Last month, nearly 200 million Active Views were delivered.
  • Popular Outlook features like mouse and keyboard shortcuts, remembering custom fonts, and undeleting messages now work in Hotmail.
  • And we combined some clever programming tricks with the best of HTML5 to make your inbox much faster by speeding up performance by 10x on common tasks.

Get ready for more

Think we’ve taken a breather? Not a chance! It’s been an exciting 15 years, and especially this past year, but we’re still just getting started.

And since it was our birthday, we wanted to tell you about two new calendar features that provide more instant access to the things that matter to you. We’re adding a mini-calendar that’s similar to Outlook’s in the left pane of Hotmail so you can quickly see upcoming appointments and jump to a particular date:

clip_image001[5]

We’re rolling out the mini-calendar on a trial basis now in order to get feedback and expect to turn it on for all users soon.

And if you’re looking for a particular email, we added a “go to” option that lets you easily get to messages from a particular date by clicking “go to” at the bottom of your message list. You can use the same control to get to messages from a particular sender when the message list is sorted by From.

clip_image002

So, check out the new changes, and let us know what you think. We hope you’ve enjoyed Hotmail over the last 15 years – and in hope you like the direction we’ve recently been taking.

We’re just getting started – there’s a lot more to come.

Dick Craddock
Group Program Manager, Hotmail

* Editor’s note: We originally stated that over 14 billion photos had been sent through photo mail. The actual number is over 500 million. Apologies for the error.

51 Comments
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  • I am very happy with hotmail and skydrive. I have some files in skydrive, and as skydrive doesnt have any native application in Windows, is there anyway, i can directly add the files in skydrive as attachments in my email ?

  • congratulations hotmail team!

  • @HonoluluGuy Thanks for the feedback - in each of the major Hotmail releases over the last 4-5 years we've made significant investments in both core spam filtering and all the user-configurable features that let you control the flow of email through your account. We feel like we've got a really great system now and take its effectiveness very seriously.

    There's a lot of variability in the type of mail folks receive, and like other ISPs we handle some things far better than others. This is why user feedback plays such a big role in how we decide which weak spots we address first, and the most interesting feedback often comes from the acute cases. Fortunately, much of the time there already exists a setting or feature we can use to address the problem, but every once in a while we find something that isn't handled well. Those are the issues we really love, because all Hotmail users benefit when we fix them.

    So - if you're interested in letting me take a look, accept my friend invite, we'll get the details sorted out offline, and I can follow up here when we've got the issued nailed down.

  • Andy
    2 Posts

    @Hammberry could you accept my friend request? I'd like to follow-up on your alias issue.

  • Hotmail spam filter is a joke! I have attempted to block spam by adding addresses to be blocked but the same spam adresses invariably turn up almost daily. Every day, on average, I receive at least two dozen spam emails! Yahoo mail--in contrast--finds ALL spam emails effectively and quarantines them. Why can't Hotmail do the same?

  • @Hammberry – there is currently a delay in the system that processes aliases, so, unfortunately, they are not available to use right away. We’re working to resolve this issue. Note that when you create an alias, you will automatically get an email acknowledging that the alias has been properly set up, so you don’t need to keep checking – just wait for the email and the new alias should work fine.

  • @Dick and Steve : Actually the list will be growing in the future on this same page. I'll try to post them in the comment section of this blog :) Thanks for reading anyway, it's good to be  heard as a user, it's very important to us

  • @Guillaume Belfiore – Wow! Thanks for all of the detailed feedback. I read it, and several folks on the team read it. There are some great ideas and suggestions in here. I particularly like many of the suggestions under “Make the most of the Quick Links.” I can’t talk about future releases, but I do think that many of these are good, and some of them we’ve already thought about. Anyway, thanks again, and keep the feedback coming.

  • @Paul Mpax – We have well-defined ways of making sure legitimate senders get their mail safely to Hotmail (see http://postmaster.hotmail.com). We’re working with various groups at Microsoft that send email to make sure they use the right mechanics, so you should see improvement over time.

    If you use Hotmail on your iPhone, iPad or Android phone, make sure to set it up to use Exchange Active Sync (EAS). That way, your mail, calendar and contacts stay in sync between your device, PC, and web. More details here: windowsteamblog.com/.../hotmail-now-supports-push-email-calendar-and-contacts-with-exchange-activesync.aspx

  • Coming back here with a list of feedbacks > streamlog.net/hotmail-feedbacks

  • Just started a serious look at hotmail.

    My initial problem: ALIAS

    I set up three alias accounts under hotmail; any mail sent to these mail boxes is bounced back, the reason:

    550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable

    I've seen other posts about this on the Windows Livemail blog: no resolution.

    Can anyone suggest what I'm doing wrong?

  • 15th anniversary, eh?  I've been a member (with the same hotmail address) since last century!  (Happily using it  while living in 2 countries for several years.)  And this is the first time I've been so frustrated with a change that I've joined and posted on a blog, looked for answers and posted questions in a forum, and otherwise complained, complained, and complained some more!

    I (and many others) want the 'remember me' feature back!

    (Or at least something to replace the feature so that we can have multiple sign-ins in a 3 member household with extended family occassionally visiting and wanting to check their hotmail! )

  • In my post -- where I mentioned "tag" I meant "SmartScreen filter"...blocking email from Mircosorft, e.g. wvblog@microsoft.com

  • Why does Hotmail tag email from Microsoft and Microsoft related sites as a security risk in Hotmail? I also get mail from reliable/safe and known senders and Hotmail will not allow me to tag them as safe it continues to tag them as security risks even though I have the addresses are in my contacts... why can't I override the security tag?

    I also use use an iPad and Android smartphone and though I've read my Hotmail with the email client on each device Hotmail does not update, that is support IMAP like Yahoo Mail and Gmail?

  • @ Dick Craddock - I'd like to talk to you about Interactive emails and possibly presenting pilot opportunities to one of my clients. How can I contact you to find out more information?

  • @Dick Craddock

    Please answer a simple question.  Will you be hotfixing the XP version of WLM to support full session SSL?

  • prelud
    9 Posts

    Please, make the font size configurable! I would really like to have the font of the messages and folders lists larger. I know I could enlarge everything using the browser settings, but it does not work well.

  • @kcrannie - First, type your text in the compose window. Next, select the word or words that you want to turn into a hyperlink. Finally, click on the hyperlink button, type your URL, and click OK. The word or words that you selected will change color to blue, with an underline to show that the hyperlink is there.

  • Seriously what we really need is for us to be able to customize those Quick Views links in the left panel based on internal search queries like Gmail allows us to do

    Another great feature would be for you to return a photo gallery of my attached pictures when I click on the Photos link of those same Quick Views

  • kcrannie
    31 Posts

    @Steve Kafka :  I see that, however, the option to add wording is not there, only the option to add a physiclial website address  to another website.    For example:  The first sentence of your article the words, "our 15th birthday!" when clicked redirects readers to blogs.technet.com    I don't see the option to add wording in an email where readers can click, just the option to provide a website address.  Clicking on the icon ("insert hyperlink") only shows http://   Where do I add the text?

  • brilaf
    13 Posts

    @ Dick Craddock

    I agree with Zwanzer. If no changes are to be done with the new sign-in for Hotmail, no use having a discussion. However, I can tell you that everyone I know are pretty ticked off. An email should have been sent to all users, because most users don't even know what happened and think it's their PC. I know of one person as well as myself who re formatted my PC

  • @Dick Craddock

    > Stay tuned! More SSL changes & information coming soon.

    The new WLM has been released, but it's not for XP, obviously.  You can't argue that SSL requires win7, so will there be a hotfix or a means to configure the XP WLM client to do full SSL?  Or any other solution for XP?

  • @kcrannie - you can already do this,  when you are composing a mail, just select the text you want to be a link and click the little picture of a globe with a link (hover text is "Insert hyperlink") from the menu bar where you can format your text.

  • Altair
    5 Posts

    Happy Birthday!

    I would really appreciate if all the services were redesigned like new Hotmail and SkyDrive.

    In my opinion, it would be better to have messenger contacts instead of the advertisement in Hotmail.

    I would also appreciate if I didn't have to wait so long when I want to go from Hotmail to Calendar (and other services) - I see "Loading" for 5 seconds and it's really annoying.

  • hdw
    25 Posts

    @Zwanzer

    Though I don't use the feature, I agree with you on principle Microsoft shouldn't make changes that consumers depend on without warning .I think Dick should go ahead with the blog post .

    BTW Happy B'Day Hotmail

  • kcrannie
    31 Posts

    Happy Birthday Hotmail.  Keep it coming. . . On an aside, a feature I would like to see added to the new Hotmail  is the addition of being able to add a link in an email where readers click on the wording rather than pasting and coping a long link for readers to click on, as in your article above.  The words in blue indicates a link to an article on an  alternate page/website.  

    With all the great improvements Hotmail is making, who needs to use a desk top mail client.

    Cheers!

  • A user of Hotmail since 2001, I have a few great suggestions for Hotmail which I shared several months ago.

    1. Add drag and drop feature for attachments (like the one in SkyDrive)

    2. Add new email SMS alerts for all countries.

    3. Add SMS notifications feature in Calender for tasks.

  • Randa
    9 Posts

    Happy Birthday Hotmail!!!

    I wish you more success in the next year ^_^

    I can't wait to get the new calendar updates :D

  • Adnan
    17 Posts

    I have been using hotmail since 2001, I was eleven when I opened it. I always used to send emails to friends and family. I am very impressed from Hotmail Team putting so much effort to make Hotmail, superior mail service. Hoping to see more cool features in future, may be HTML5 transition too

  • Ronald
    22 Posts

    First of all I would like to congratulate the team and express my gratitude for the fast development this year!

    The one thing missing in Hotmail is instant mail (push mail) when using Outlook/WLM. I know you can configure both clients to check (pull) for mail every minute or so, but it still doesn’t equal push mail. So I think Outlook Connector / WLM need to be enhanced with support for push mail. Another solution would be to let Hotmail support IMAP (including IDLE). The latter would imply that on less advanced phones (no EAS) and other mail clients Hotmail can be used with push mail support.

  • Esben
    1 Posts

    All the updates are great! :-) One thing that could be nice is endless scroll in the inbox (like in Outlook and ‘Exchange 2010 Outlook Web App’).

  • Zwanzer
    26 Posts

    @ Dick Craddock

    There is nothing to talk about the sign-in screen.

    There is no need for a blog-post if you do not have the intention to bring it back the way it was.

    Just let me know if it has gone for good and I (together with all my network colleagues) will be gone to G-Mail by tomorrow.

    It happens more and more that MS takes away features that they made us like a lot.

    This can't go on like that !

    I always used MS products because I trusted MS.

    Right now I wonder every day what nice feature (on which I based my way of working) MS is going to take away from me today or tomorrow.

    This is unbearable - I cant trust MS any longer this way.

  • Congratulations. Rock on for many more years to come.

  • Hotmail needs to add more countries in the list of 'Adding mobile phone' for single signon codes functionality, I live in New Zealand and do not see it in the drop down box list along with hundreds of other countries that exist.

  • langware
    154 Posts

    @Dick Craddock:

    Regarding your reply:

    "we've gotten quite a few comments on the sign-in screen changes. We're planning a blog post to talk about the changes, the thinking behind them, etc. Stay tuned."

    That blog should have been written simultaneous with, or before, the changes made to the sign-on screen.

    If you are going to play the "security card" when explaining the removal of the "remember me" and multiple account options from the sign-on screen, then please include an explanation of why the "Keep me signed-in" option remains and is not a security problem on public and shared computers. Also, please explain why removing the "remember me" feature was at the top of your security list, while other options such as two-factor authentication and an option to define a default IP address (such that any attempt to sign-on from another IP address triggers extended authentication such as the secret question, etc.) continue to get pushed down the list?

  • SDreamer
    11 Posts

    Sounds great, wish you guys would rcoordinate your updates with the other teams so it would be a more unified Microsoft experience. Also, what about alerts? I still cannot get alerts working in calendar or anything else really. These are cool additions. but the overall basic foundation is still really shaking because of how un-unified the experience is (a user using the desktop edition should expect near same experience as they would online and vice versa; basic functions should work, such as reminders and alerts.). I really want to move from Google to Live because of cool additions like the one stated above, but missing basic functionality that is much needed to make the service reliable is preventing me from doing so. Congrats on the 15 years though, hope improvements start to move toward a common goal for the consumers.

  • RdN
    3 Posts

    That's great. Congratulations!

    Now, where's the official app for Hotmail/Windows Live Messenger for Android???

  • @Zwanzer - we've gotten quite a few comments on the sign-in screen changes. We're planning a blog post to talk about the changes, the thinking behind them, etc. Stay tuned.

  • @ WPS - good comments. I've forwarded on the Windows Live Mail comments to the folks who work on that team. thanks.

  • @w1ngnut - good comment, and I agree. We're considering these kinds of changs for a future release. It's fun now that we're releasing features a bit more quickly.

  • @PWK - good suggestions. We're thinking through the mini-cal and getting feedback on the things customers really want to see there. Good comments on the WinPhone, as well - we're looking into those - thanks.

  • @tiltowait - neat idea. I know our marketing folks have some screen shots. Might make a nice blog post - we'll give that one some thought.

  • @mainensign - Stay tuned! More SSL changes & information coming soon.

  • Zwanzer
    26 Posts

    Taking away the login screen that allowed us to save several IDs and passwords is a big mistake.

    It were indeed 15 great years but all my colleagues and I are going to leave hotmail now due to this simplified login screen.

    What a shame !

  • WPS
    8 Posts

    Hey, congratulations to 15 years hotmail, I am using since 2007 I guess.

    New Calendar feature looks great. But I have some points which are very important to me (and I think also to many others).

    1. Make aliases and custom E-Mail adresses usable as "from" adress in the Live Mail Desktop Client.

    2. Make the ToDo List we can find in the online version of the calendar available in Live Mail Desktop Client.

    3. Overwork the design of the calendar and contact pages, I think they do not realy fit to the new Hotmail and SkyDrive.

    Any chances to get this features soon?

    I hope you reply.

    Thanks

  • > We gave you the ability to turn on full-session SSL

    Not with deltasync clients.

    > We are working to support SSL on our mail clients

    Any ETA?

  • PWK
    7 Posts

    @controlz That's a great idea... roll it out to everyone before it's been fully tested. Then if something doesn't work we can complain about it.  lol.  ;)

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    "We’re rolling out the mini-calendar on a trial basis now in order to get feedback and expect to turn it on for all users soon." I'll get it after Christmas then... :-(

  • w1ngnut
    25 Posts

    This is great news! One feature I've been looking forward is the ability to collapse/expand folders/subfolders. Having more than 50 of them sometimes makes it difficult to access easily the info I want. =)

  • PWK
    7 Posts

    I like the updates to Hotmail. I would like to see a mini to-do-list added to the left pane of Hotmail.  I would also like to see color categories and the ability to collapse subfolders.  Another thing I would like to see the Hotmail team address is FLAGS on Windows 7 phones and fixing the daft folder so it syncs both ways and the syncing of replies and forwards.

  • Would be fun to see some screen shots of hotmail over the last fifteen years. I've been with hotmail since dec 06 but I can't remember what it looked like back then. Of course, does anyone even have any screen shots of hotmail from over the years?