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5 Ways the New Hotmail Beats Gmail

Tracking A Package? Watch It Live

If you get shipping notifications from USPS in Hotmail, you get a live view of where the parcel is and when it’s going to arrive, right in the email. This uses the same Active View as the photo and video previews do–you get the standard email message in the bottom half of the window, but you also get the details of your delivery extracted from the shipping site so you don't have to copy the tracking number and look it up yourself. You can see the expected delivery date (or the actual delivery date) and the status of the parcel, and you can click to open the details of your shipment on the tracking site if you need to know more.

Like the Office docs, social network updates, and photo Quick views, the Shipping updates Quick view filters your inbox so it only shows emails with shipping details. When the new version of Hotmail launches in July, the shipping details will come from several partner services (we’d expect FedEx and UPS to be on the list, along with online stores like Amazon) but in the beta, this only works with the U.S. Postal Service. We also expect to see more kinds of active views for information that’s useful to see right in your email–you’ll be able to accept LinkedIn invitations without leaving your email. Or how about seeing the weather at your destination in the reminder to check-in for your flight?

Like the option to clip information from Bing searches into an email you're writing, these new Hotmail features take advantage of the fact that Webmail means you're online and that you pull real-time information into your inbox. And that makes Hotmail slicker and more powerful than Gmail.

Shipping notifications tell you to expect a delivery, while shipping updates in Hotmail tell you where it is.

When you're online, your email can do more, like turning links into photo thumbnails.

If you want to add a map or a Web link to your message, the Bing option on the Attachment bar might help you find it.

  • Phoenixkatera
    I've had my Gmail account for a while now, and loved it. I have to admit though I like the competition, perhaps I'll look into changing, it's good for us users and drives Big Brother corps like MSFT and Google to push the bar higher.
  • I am a Yahoo! mail user. I've been on Yahoo! mail since I think about 1994, so I have no desire to change. It still works very well for basic email purposes, but gosh, the competition is heating up. I kind of wish MS had successfully bought Yahoo! a couple of years back so that all this innovation could be landing in my inbox! If they get left any further behind, I may actually have to switch (but never to Google!).
  • N.Broekhuijsen
    YahooUserI am a Yahoo! mail user. I've been on Yahoo! mail since I think about 1994, so I have no desire to change. It still works very well for basic email purposes, but gosh, the competition is heating up. I kind of wish MS had successfully bought Yahoo! a couple of years back so that all this innovation could be landing in my inbox! If they get left any further behind, I may actually have to switch (but never to Google!).You have 1 post under your name, and look at your name. Sounds to me like you signed up to troll..

    *Post edited by moderator* The user was expressing an opinion and is entitled to do so, regardless of post count. Cool it.
  • N.Broekhuijsen
    Oh and I've always used Gmail since it came out, and I've always loved it. Something m$ has to give me in order for me to change to Hotmail: DEVELOPER PRIVELAGES!!! got those because I was an early google adopter. very useful for when wave came out at first: I get 100 invites, that all work RIGHT AWAY, instead of having to wait for a lifetime until my friends invite arrived.

    These functions that are mentioned, don't bug me that it is what makes Hotmail better. I don't care for these kind of functions. Gmail works just fine. Maybe an article on "50 Ways Gmail Beats Hotmail".

    1st point: Google Labs
    2nd Point: customizable themes
    3rd point: mailbox simplicity
    4th point: archive for all mail
    5th point: search function to find mail
  • hellwig
    Wow, I'm not sure 10GB is UNLIMITED sharing of photos. I believe it is technically limited sharing, to the tune of 10GB. Maybe my math is wrong though. Of course, that's assuming Microsoft doesn't just abandon SkyDrive like they do so many other things they decide to throw out there (if I recall in a recent article on online backup services, Microsoft had a service it hadn't updated since 2008?).

    And I didn't realize it was safe to automatically load images linked to by emails these days. If I recall, that's a big way spammers validate your email address. Pre-loading Flickr would be nice (why isn't Yahoo! doing this), but I would want to set this to trusted sources only, not linking any image anyone sent to me.

    Shipment tracking within Hotmail? Is opening the shippers website really that much of a hassle these days? For a while now, Yahoo! has detected shipment tracking numbers and offers a link directly to the tracking page of the shipper. I trust that more than I trust Microsoft to be retrieving this information. In fact, I think its technically illegal for Microsoft to be retrieving shipping information for packages that are not addressed to them, or that they didn't send. Certainly they must explicitly ask you if you want Hotmail to do this?

    Good to see Microsoft advancing Hotmail, it was such crap for so long. I wonder if I even still have a Hotmail account, that was so many years ago I'm sure its long gone.
  • marybranscombe
    @hellwig With the spam question, you're thinking of images that are links, not attachments; the preview for image links only works with legitimate photosharing sites (and attachments) so you won't be loading the image from the spammers' site - if it were a spam message, you wouldn't give anything away by viewing the thumbnails either way.
    Hotmail isn't indexing the shipping information for ads, like Gmail, or showwing the information to anyone but you so Microsoft believes acting as a proxy for you is legitimate; they partner with shipping services to develop this active view, they don't just scrape it from the site without permission - and it's very convenient (I just want it to work with a lot more services than USPS by launch).
    (BTW, the 'unlimited' reference started out more like 'as many as you want' but that's just too long for the page! 200 50MB photos or 2,000 5MB photos are still a lot of photos ;-) )
  • Gmail's fine for me. That's where I redirect my domain mail to. If there are any good new features in Hotmail, I'm sure Gmail won't be far behind in, er, taking inspiration from them. I'm happy to wait.
  • shovenose
    Hotmail and Gmail do the same thing: email. sure they have side-orders of guacamole (archiving) in gmail and maybe a side-order of french fries (aka web ms office) in hotmail...
    theyre both good.
    this is sort of like the mac + pc argument...
    PS: I prefer hotmail by 1%
  • riorio
    I have both gmail and hotmail account, and the 2 accounts I signup with very high traffic mailling list (PHP , linux kernel, ubuntu, postfix .. etc) Total email on My mailbox is 150,000+.

    Here is 10 ways gmail beat hotmail :

    1. Gmail is way faster than hotmail. Gmail is very snappy and responsive.
    2. Gmail search works. Hotmail just timed out whenever I did a search ( probably because of the number of emails I have )
    3. Gmail message classification works. Hotmail sometimes did not classify message correctly ( again maybe because of the sheer amount of mail coming in )
    4. Gmail spam blocker works better. I get 20 spam/week on hotmail, where I only get 1 or 2 spam on gmail.
    5. Threaded conversation on gmail.
    6. Gmail uses tagging instead of folder. Tagging is like folder but more advanced as you can classify a message into more than 1 tag.
    7. You can share photos/video with picassa/youtube. Gmail is specifically for mail, picassa/youtube is is for sharing a photos/video. Both picassa & youtube integrated to gmail.
    8. Gmail integrate nicely with Google map
    9. Gmail comes with better contact management
    10. Gmail task / calendar is way better than hotmail

  • delazaren
    One big problem with Hotmail is Microsoft's spam filter. Not the one you can set up yourself but the one Microsoft has imposed on Hotmail. Perfectly legitimate emails get blocked and there is absolutely nothing reasonable that you can do to unblock them. Unless this is fixed I recommend everybody I know to shy away from Hotmail unless they don't mind missing legitimate emails.