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Mi­crosoft re­brands Hot­mail

IF you’ve been on the In­ter­net for a long time, there’s a good chance Hot­mail was your first email ad­dress.

Launched in 1996, the site was bought by Mi­crosoft the fol­low­ing year and has been through many changes since.

Most of us have a num­ber of dif­fer­ent email ac­counts ac­cu­mu­lated over the years and feel re­luc­tant to close them down be­cause there’s some ac­count or an­other at­tached to them we haven’t got­ten around to chang­ing.

These days, the min­i­mal­ist Gmail is the web­mail du jour, while web­site do­mains are more af­ford­able ( and come with your own per­son­alised email ad­dress), so an­nounc­ing your email ad­dress at Hot­mail is some­thing of a hu­mil­i­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Or so it would seem, but Hot­mail is still the web’s largest web- based email ser­vice, with 350 mil­lion reg­is­tered users, ac­cord­ing to coms­core.

Now Mi­crosoft is re­brand­ing Hot­mail as a clean and min­i­mal site sim­i­lar to Gmail. Re­nam­ing it ‘‘ Out­look’’ ( not to be con­fused with the one you use at work), the new site will al­low users to swap their email han­dle from @hot­mail.com to @out­look.com, video chat with con­tacts and in­te­grate so­cial me­dia plat­form up­dates too.

But de­spite 1 mil­lion users re­port­edly flock­ing to sign up to Out­look. com, Hot­mail is still Hot­mail.

Will it be able to re­deem its rep­u­ta­tion or will it continue to nose­dive fur­ther into ir­rel­e­vance?

Be­fore you an­swer too quickly, con­sider the re­peated pre­dic­tions that Face­book will ex­pe­ri­ence a mass ex­o­dus.

Face­book’s in­sis­tence to switch all user emails to an @ face­book. com ac­count has irked en masse, but peo­ple have been say­ing it’s on the out since 2009, and it hasn’t hap­pened yet.

BEST FREE EMAIL SER­VICES

Gmail is the Google ap­proach to email. Prac­ti­cally un­lim­ited free on­line stor­age with ex­cel­lent search and threaded mes­sage func­tions al­lows you to keep records ef­fec­tively. Gmail puts con­tex­tual ad­ver­tis­ing next to the emails you read, which has been crit­i­cised as an in­va­sion of pri­vacy. But con­ve­niently, you can use Gmail and its text and video chat func­tion on any pro­gram or de­vice ( all con­tacts and cal­en­dar en­tries will sync). gmail. com Mozilla Thunderbird is a se­cure email client and RSS feed reader. It ef­fi­ciently fil­ters away junk mail, but could be more help­ful with la­bels and fold­ers. mozilla. org/ thunderbird ZigMail col­lects and sorts news­let­ters, or­der con­fir­ma­tions, deals and other non- per­sonal emails ( break­ing out short- time deals and alerts, for ex­am­ple, and col­lect­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tions). A daily email to your main ac­count keeps you abreast of these trans­ac­tional mes­sages. zigmail. com Out­look is the new- era Hot­mail, re­vamped and re­vi­talised by Mi­crosoft to in­clude a min­i­mal in­ter­face, video chat and in­te­grated so­cial me­dia plat­form up­dates. Ex­ist­ing users can also switch their @ hot­mail. com ad­dress to @ out­look. com. out­look. com Mail is the solid, pow­er­ful and easy to use email pro­gram built into Mac OS X. Mail’s smart spam fil­ter is ef­fi­cient and the fast and pre­cise smart fold­ers make manag­ing mail easy. ap­ple. com/ osx/ apps/# mail

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