Microsoft Revamps Hotmail as Outlook, Adds Social Features

The new email service will be web-based and integrates major social networks

Microsoft unveiled Tuesday a revamped version of Hotmail, transitioning the 16-year-old email client to a web-based and social-savvy version of Outlook.

The new email service, which was rebranded as Outlook, is integrated with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Skype and channels recent status updates, photos and tweets from friends into a user's inbox.

Users will be able to keep their @hotmail.com or @live.com names, but new users will choose between @outlook.com or @live.com.

Last month, Hotmail was still the largest online mail service with 324 million users or about 36 percent of the global market, according to comScore figures.

However, Google's Gmail has emerged in recent years as the fastest growing competitor, claiming about 31 percent of the market. Yahoo Mail has stagnated at 32 percent.

"A lot has changed in the last eight years," Chris Jones, Microsoft's vice president of Windows Live, said in a blog post, "and we think it's time for a fresh look at email — modern, connected, smart, powerful and in control."