Microsoft offered a sneak peek at the next iteration of Windows Live Hotmail today, launching the new Hotmail Preview website concomitantly. With the array of new features planned for the next major version of Hotmail, it is obvious that the Redmond company is making no secret of the fact that it has worked to deliver an offering superior to its rivals. The software giant even went as far as offering a comparison, from its own perspective over Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 vs. Gmail on the Hotmail Preview website. (it did something similar for Windows Live Messenger Wave 4)
As you can see from the chart included below, there are areas of both services where Hotmail Wave 4 and Gmail are matched, such as support for mobile browsing, synchronization and push capabilities for mobile phones, forwarding and flags or stars (designed to highlight certain messages and make them stand out from the inbox crowd).
However, at the same time, there are areas in which Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 clearly has the upper hand compared with Gmail. Microsoft now offers unlimited storage, while Google only comes with the promise of ever-expanding storage and is now at some 7.5 GB per account. Hotmail Wave 4 will let users attach files as large as 50 MB to an email, no less than double the Gmail limit of 25 MB.
Attachments are where Hotmail Wave 4 is indisputably superior to Gmail. Users leveraging Google’s email service are only able to send 25 MB worth of attachments. With Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4, things are a tad different. Microsoft is taking advantage of Windows Live SkyDrive and is allowing users to attach up to 200 pictures or documents, no more than 50 MB each, to a single Windows Live Hotmail Wave 3 email. This means that users can, at least in theory, send messages weighing in at no less than 10 GB, making Gmail’s 25 MB limit look ridiculous.
There are currently 370 million active Windows Live Hotmail users worldwide, and, with Wave 4 on the horizon, they will be able to enjoy a range of new features such as social-networking integration (Facebook, Twitter, but also 70 more websites), Office Web Apps (Cloud-based Office 2010) integration, 1-Click Filters, Inbox Sweep, Windows Live Messenger integration, Exchange ActiveSync support, etc.
“The way people ‘do email’ has changed a lot and continues to evolve. We designed the new Hotmail with this evolution in mind, so you can easily get the clutter out of your inbox, save time getting through your email, and view and edit photos and Office documents in your browser. In the coming weeks, we’ll start rolling out the new Hotmail broadly to our customers,” Dick Craddock, group program manager for Windows Live Hotmail, revealed.