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Microsoft trades in Hotmail for

Microsoft has announced that it is revamping its free web service and replacing its Hotmail brand with the well-known Outlook name.

The overhauled service will allow users to make internet calls via Skype, as well as helping to organise incoming messages.

Microsoft argues this will help end the problem of cluttered inboxes, a feature that may help appeal to fans of Google’s rival Gmail service. The software-giant argued that overloaded inboxes had meant that many found using their accounts a chore.

New features for Outlook email

The new service will help to automatically sort incoming messages according to criteria defined by the user. This can include social network posts, newsletters, emails from contacts and package delivery notices.

Microsoft also announced that is in the process of linking the Outlook account with other services that a user has subscribed to.

Chris Jones said on the firm’s blog:

“We are giving you the first email service that is connected to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google, and soon, Skype, to bring relevant context and communications to your email.”

He then added:

“In the inbox, your personal email comes alive with photos of your friends, recent status updates and tweets that your friend has shared with you, the ability to chat and video call – all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks.” competing with Google?

Video and photos with a large file size can be sent via the company’s Skydrive cloud storage service, ending users’ frustrations over attachment size limits.

Microsoft hopes this service will be enough to draw customers away from Google Drive service, as well as Dropbox and Sugarsync.

Web versions of the firm’s Office apps will also be built into the service, which will compete directly with competitor application suits such as Google Docs and Zoho Docs.

It was also confirmed that email content of attachments will not be scanned to glean information for advertisers, an announcement that some have perceived as a dig at Google.

The revamped email service is currently available in preview mode, and a release date has yet to be announced.

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