The Windows Live Hotmail Team has good reason to celebrate. Microsoft has started rolling out the “new Hotmail” features. Because the Hotmail servers are grouped into hundreds of clusters, and only one cluster is upgraded at a time, the migration is not expected to be complete until the end of summer (winter in the Southern Hemisphere!). If you do not see the new features yet, please be patient. They will be coming your way soon.
Initially, there are some features, like the integrated Office Web Apps and the ability to send files via SkyDrive, that are available only in certain countries. For example, the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland are receiving Office integration first and it will be rolled out to other countries later this year.
Some of the enhanced features of Windows Live Hotmail include the new Sweep menu, freshly integrated Office Web Apps, via SkyDrive, new attachment limits up to 10 GB, and the ability to create and send photo albums right from Hotmail.
However, I am most interested in the improved security features, briefly described below. For more detailed information on the improved security features as well as the other new features in Hotmail, see What's new in Hotmail.
One feature I am particularly looking forward to is the "Trusted Sender". This feature visually identifies legitimate mail from about 100 senders, mostly financial institutions like banks, that are commonly spoofed by identity thieves.
Account security information
The new Hotmail encourages you to increase the security of your account by adding security information that you can privately associate with your Hotmail account. For example, you can use your cell phone or other items as proof of account ownership. Then, should a problem arise with your account, you can be sent an account recapture code via an SMS message or enable regaining account access.
For times when you will be using a public computer (i.e., at an internet cafe, airport, coffee shop), All it takes is clicking "request a code", and a one-time use authentication code will be sent to a private proof point (mobile phone or alternate e-mail address). By using a single-use code on a public computer instead of your password, you avoid the chances of it being stolen by key-loggers.
The new Hotmail will soon support the option to maintain SSL encryption between you and Microsoft servers during the entire Hotmail session.