Goodbye Hotmail. Hello Outlook Mail

Hotmail has long been the ugly duckling of free webmail services. And a business using a Hotmail email address just looks bad.

But Microsoft has finally done something positive after a few years of tinkering around the edges, with the introduction of Outlook Mail.

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Ignore the bad vibes the Outlook name is bound to generate for many, the new Outlook Mail web interface is clean and simple compared to the old Hotmail interface. Yes you still get adverts but they don’t get in the way and they are not contextual. Your conversations are yours and not used to serve you ads.

There are also some useful new tools to help you organise your email and you can also customise the interface in the same way Gmail allows you to. Unsurprisingly, Skype is also baked in to Outlook Mail.

Microsoft has all the social connectors you could think of to make your email inbox as robust as possible. If you are friends with someone on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter, Outlook now pulls in their profile image and adds it to the emails that they send you; you can also share content directly from Outlook.com too.

In fact this new Outlook Mail is close to being better than Google Mail, at least for the webmail experience.

Not yet quite ready for primetime, get in quick and get your preferred @outlook.com email address by going to www.outlook.com and logging in with your existing Hotmail or Windows Live account.

Your existing Hotmail address will still work once you set up your new Outlook.com address and there is a neat function to set up a folder to keep your hotmail email separate from the new outlook email in the web interface.

But if you are a business get yourself a domain name for your business email. They are cheap enough and it will look far more professional than a free Hotmail or Outlook address.