In the age of Gmail, Microsoft’s Hotmail service has a distinct last-century vibe about it, but Microsoft is still trying to maintain its relevance. A promised list of upgrades announced today in a press release include integration with feed from other social networking, sharing and blogging sites (including Flickr, Twitter and WordPress), and access to Gmail and other external accounts via Hotmail. The social networking options are also being added to Live Messenger, though it should be noted that the big three — Facebook, MySpace and Bebo — aren’t part of the deal. (A bunch of other Live features were also mentioned in the announcement, but most of these are already available as separate downloads.)
The new features are scheduled to be rolled out to Australian users between now and February 2009; they haven’t shown up in my Hotmail account as yet, and frankly I’m reluctant to reinstall Live Messenger while I’m on the road because of the hideous effect it has on system start-up times. But if you’ve seen the new-look Hotmail, tell us how it rolls in the comments.