Microsoft's new Hotmail features are designed to remove clutter from users' email inboxes.
is tweaking Hotmail, aiming to remove endemic clutter from its users' inboxes.
These new tweaks,
which are scheduled to roll out in coming weeks, target what the company called
"graymail," which include newsletters plus updates from social networks and
latest graymail-killing features include a new newsletter-filtering function,
which is paired with a one-click ability to have Hotmail tell various companies
you no longer want to receive their daily or weekly email. (Hotmail will also
eliminate that company's emails currently residing in your inbox.)
"Despite the drastic decrease of true spam in the
inbox, we found that most customers are still seeing newsletters, product
offers and other clutter," Dick Craddock, group program manager for Hotmail,
wrote in an Oct. 3 posting on The Windows Blog
"In fact, 75 percent of email identified as spam by our customers actually
turns out to be unwanted graymail that they receive as a result of having
signed up on a legitimate Website."
new features include a Schedule Cleanup, which will eliminate email from a
specific address after three, 10, 30 or 60 days. A revamped flagging
system automatically sorts important messages to the top of the inbox, and Custom
Categories offer a way to personalize email sorting.
Over the past few
quarters, Microsoft has worked to improve Hotmail on several different fronts. In
July, the company announced new security features designed to track down
compromised user accounts and make passwords more secure, along with making it
easier for users to reclaim their compromised accounts.
"all in" cloud strategy has placed it on a head-on collision course with
Google. In addition to Hotmail, Microsoft's other consumer and business cloud
services continue to battle the search-engine giant on several fronts,
including search (Bing vs. Google's core search franchise) and productivity
(Office 365 vs. Google Apps).
course, the cloud comes with its own unique issues. Microsoft has wrestled with
some outages for its cloud services over the past few months, including a
significant one on the night of Sept. 8 that managed to knock out Hotmail,
SkyDrive and other Live properties for a few hours.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter