The evolution of Hotmail
We take a look at how Hotmail has changed in its 15 years of existence
If you asked most people, they'd probably be surprised to find out that Hotmail has been around for 15 years.
In fact, a lot of people probably don't even remember the time when Hotmail was a simple email service that could only hold 2 MB of data.
Yes, 2 megabytes. That wouldn't even be enough to send a few attachments these days.
If you had an account back in those early days, we'd be willing to bet that there's no way you would have thought that Hotmail would become the multi-feature service it has become today.
Just how much has Hotmail changed, you ask? Here are some interesting facts from the last 15 years.
- - Hotmail's user base has ballooned from 500,000 people in the early days to 360 million people worldwide.
- - MSN Messenger came about as an add-on to Hotmail. Now most people can't live without using its instant messenger service.
- - Hotmail was the first service to offer free virus scanning for its users.
- - These days, 9 billion emails are received and 300 million emails are sent by Hotmail users every day.
- - Storage space has been continually raised from a paltry 2MB to today's 5GB of "ever-growing" storage, which expands every time you reach the storage cap. If you hit around 4GB, they'll increase it to 6GB, if you reach 5GB, they'll increase the cap to 7GB and so on.
- - Over the last few years, Hotmail has evolved into Windows Live Hotmail, and has become a one stop solution for both business and personal use. Now, people are able to open Microsoft Office documents online without having the software installed, and are able to easily share files through features like Skydrive.
"In the modern world where social media is ubiquitous, instant updates and 24x7 connections to one's networks are the norm," said Dr. Michael Netzley, Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication at Singapore Management University. "A quick peek into the past however, would reveal email to be the turning point in ushering in an era of personal connectivity between individuals, transcending the traditional boundaries of time and place."
From its inception, Hotmail (and other services like it) helped make email more easily accessible to millions worldwide, and helped change the very fabric of communication for both individuals and businesses.
"Email revolutionized the world of modern day communication and instantly made postal services around the world less relevant and was a boon to businesses around the world," Added Dr. Netzley. "Some of the first email clients were introduced more than two decades ago, and while these were initially used within local networks or intranets, free web-based email services like Hotmail helped bring the revolution to everyday users."
Even with all of these innovations, one can be sure that the Hotmail team isn't anywhere near done yet. The coming years will likely bring about even more new features and changes, and will likely make the service even more essential in the future.
What do you think is next for Hotmail? Share your thoughts on the evolution of Hotmail in the comments section below!