Microsoft has launched its new free email service Outlook.com as it begins to phase out Hotmail.
The new service aims to improve email by filtering emails into categories according to type so its easier to find what you are looking for, as well as removing ads and integrating internet video calling service Skype.
Like Hotmail, the service is free to use and can be accessed from any computer through a web browser.
For more information read our round-up of Outlook.com’s new features.
Compatible with other services
The service can connect to other services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other email accounts to collect all messages in one inbox. It also makes use of Microsoft’s Skydrive cloud storage service to help people share large files without having to worry about attachment size limits.
The redesigned client is based around the Metro user interface found on Windows Phone 7 mobile phones and in the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.
Microsoft appears to be challenging Google’s Gmail service by saying that Outlook.com doesn’t include ‘creepy ads’ – a reference to the targeted ads in Gmail which are based on each users’ search history.
How to sign up
Microsoft has opened up a preview of the service but hasn’t announced the full release date yet. Users can sign up to the service and choose a new email address through the following link to Outlook.com.
What will happen to Hotmail and other email accounts?
Users of existing Hotmail, Live or MSN email accounts will be able to upgrade their accounts to the new system and continue to use the same address. For the moment Microsoft is only encouraging people to upgrade and will allow users to continue to use the old email system, but this may change in the future.