Microsoft has been dedicating serious resources to developing Hotmail in recent months, and has announced a range of new features coming to the service on its Windows Live blog. Clearly it's taking the fight to Google's Gmail, and to an extent the threat posed by Facebook, and these new features continue to make Hotmail look seriously attractive.
Package Tracking Recognition
One of the more intriguing additions is automatic recognition of tracking codes from various shipping providers. If you get a tracking code from FedEx (or the US Postal Service), you'll get a live update of where your package has got to. DHL and UPS are also supported, but you can't see the shipping status inside the email and must click on a link instead.
Facebook Chat in Hotmail
A feature that was added to Live Messenger recently, you'll soon be chatting with Facebook friends in Hotmail as well. Currently it's only supported in the US, UK, France, Brazil, Germany, and Russia, but it will be rolled out to other regions in time.
Other new updates include the photo sharing enhancements, where you can share massive collections using SkyDrive, which are now available to all users, not just those in the US. Microsoft has also added Dailymotion and Justin.tv support for in-email video viewing, and subfolder support. Attachment limits have also been raised to 25MB. Most of these updates are due to go live in a "few weeks".