Today sees the global launch of Windows Live Hotmail, the successor to MSN Hotmail which boasts massive improvements to the once-pioneering webmail service that has suffered in recent years with competitors such as Yahoo and Google offering a better service.

The biggest update yet to the Hotmail service, the most obvious changes are how you will be able to access your mail, the new Microsoft Office Outlook Connector beta will enable people to view and manage their Windows Live Hotmail account from Outlook, with full contact, email and email folder synchronisation while using Windows Live Hotmail for mobile (, customers can access their email when they are on the go on a web-enabled mobile phone or PDA.

Hotmail will be taking on Outlook-esque properties such as the abilities with right-click and drag-and-drop capabilities, preview pane customisation and auto-complete addressing, comforting for those who already use Microsoft's mail software.

New security features will include a safety bar that will rate messages according to how safe they appear and one click "mark as unsafe" functionality for users who dislike the look of dodgy emails invading their inbox. On the more fluffy side of things, there will be more options to personalise the look and feel of your inbox with different view options and a choice of oh-so-pretty colour themes.

You can visit to sign up for a new
Windows Live Hotmail account, current Hotmail users can update their existing account to Windows Live Hotmail by logging into their account and clicking on the green "Join Windows Live Hotmail" button.