Saturday, July 7, 2012

History Hotmail

History Hotmail


Launch of Hotmail


Hotmail service was founded by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, and was one of the first webmail services on the Internet along with Four11's RocketMail (later Yahoo! Mail). It was commercially launched on July 4, 1996, American Independence Day, symbolizing "freedom" from ISP-based email and the ability to access a user's inbox from anywhere in the world. The name "Hotmail" was chosen out of many possibilities ending in "-mail" as it included the letters HTML – the markup language used to create web pages (to emphasize this, the original type casing was "HoTMaiL"). The limit for free storage was 2 MB.Hotmail was initially backed by venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. By December 1997, it reported more than 8.5 million subscribers. Hotmail initially ran under Solaris for mail services and Apache on FreeBSD for web services before being converted to Microsoft products.

MSN Hotmail

Image of an old Hotmail inbox layout embedded in Outlook
The old MSN Hotmail inbox

Hotmail was sold to Microsoft in December 1997 for a reported $400 million, and it joined the MSN group of services. Hotmail quickly gained in popularity as it was localized for different markets around the globe and became the world's largest webmail service, and reported more than 30 million active members by February 1999. Hotmail originally ran on a mixture of FreeBSD and Solaris operating systems. A project was started to move Hotmail to Windows 2000. In June 2001, Microsoft claimed this had been completed; a few days later they retracted and admitted that the DNS functions of the Hotmail system were still reliant on FreeBSD. Later development saw the service tied with Microsoft's web authentication scheme, Microsoft Passport (now Windows Live ID), and integration with Microsoft's instant messaging and social networking programs, MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces (now Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces, respectively).

Security Issues


A security issue appeared in Hotmail during this period that permitted anybody to log into any Hotmail account using the password 'eh'; it was at the time called "the most widespread security incident in the history of the Web."
In 2001, the Hotmail service was compromised again by computer hackers who discovered that anyone could log into their Hotmail account and then cull messages from any other Hotmail account by crafting a URL with the second account's username and a valid message number. It was such a simple attack that by the time the patch was made, dozens of newspapers and hundreds of web sites published exact descriptions allowing tens-of-thousands of hackers to run rampant across Hotmail. The exploitable vulnerability exposed millions of accounts to tampering between August 7, 2001 and August 31, 2001. The space increased to 50MB and then 250MB in 2004.

Competition


After a period of technological stagnation, the webmail industry received a significant boost in 2004 when Google announced its own mail service, Gmail. Featuring greater storage space, speed, and interface flexibility, this new competitor spurred a wave of innovation in webmail. The main industry heavyweights – Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail – introduced upgraded versions of their email services with greater speed, security, and advanced features.

Windows Live Hotmail


Microsoft's new email system was announced on November 1, 2005, under the codename "Kahuna", and a beta version was released to a few thousand testers. Other webmail enthusiasts also wanting to try the beta version could request an invitation granting access. The new service was built from scratch and emphasized three main concepts of being "faster, simpler, and safer". New versions of the beta service were rolled out over the development period, and by the end of 2006 the number of beta testers had reached the millions.

The Hotmail brand was planned to be phased-out when Microsoft announced that the new mail system would be called Windows Live Mail, but the developers soon backtracked after beta-testers were confused with the name change and preferred the already well-known Hotmail name, and decided on Windows Live Hotmail. After a period of beta testing, it was officially released to new and existing users in the Netherlands on November 9, 2006, as a pilot market. Development of the beta was finished in April 2007, Windows Live Hotmail was released to new registrations on May 7, 2007, as the 260 million MSN Hotmail accounts worldwide gained access to the new system. The old MSN Hotmail interface was accessible only by users who registered before the Windows Live Hotmail release date and had not chosen to update to the new service. The roll-out to all existing users was completed in October 2007.

Windows Live Hotmail was awarded PC Magazine's Editor's Choice Award in February 2007, March 2007,and February 2011

It was announced in 2008 on the Windows Live Hotmail website that the service would be updated with focus on improving the speed, increasing the storage space, better user experience, and usability features. It was announced that sign-in and email access speeds will be up to 70 percent faster. The classic and full versions of Windows Live Hotmail are combined in the new release. As a result of user feedback, Hotmail has been updated so that scrolling works for users who have the reading pane turned off. It is also expected that Hotmail team will be moving the advertisement from the top of page to the side, adding more themes, increasing the number of messages on each page, and adding the ability to send instant messages from the user's inbox in future releases.

Support for Firefox in the upgraded Windows Live Hotmail took a few months to complete. Full version support for Google Chrome was also added on November 4, 2008. On October 30, 2008, some account holders using various Linux based browsers started experiencing read-only access.[40] However, with the use of a user agent switcher to dupe Hotmail into thinking the user is accessing from Windows, normal functionality is restored, which indicates that Windows Live Hotmail is only allowing certain browsers at the moment.

As part of the update, Microsoft also added integrated capability for instant messaging with contacts on the Windows Live Messenger service. The feature is the realization of a project that began as "Windows Live Web Messenger" in 2007, a replacement for the outdated "MSN Web Messenger" service that was first launched in August 2004. It was noted that the original "Windows Live Web Messenger" featured tabbed conversations in a "conversation workspace", however since its integration with Hotmail this has been removed.

On May 18, 2010, Microsoft unveiled the "Wave 4" update of Hotmail, which offers features such as 1-click filters, active views, inbox sweeping, and 10 GB space for photos, Microsoft Office documents, and attachments. It also includes integration with Windows Live SkyDrive and Windows Live Office, a free version of Microsoft's Office Web Apps suite. The new version began its gradual release to all Hotmail users on June 15, 2010 and was completely rolled out on August 3, 2010. Exchange ActiveSync support was enabled to all Hotmail users on August 30, 2010, allowing users to sync their mail, contacts, calendar and tasks to their mobile devices that supports the protocol. Addition of full-session SSL was released on November 9, 2010.

Throughout 2011, Microsoft added several new features to Hotmail, such as aliases[47] and speed improvements.[48] In October 2011, Microsoft unveiled a "re-invented Hotmail", and added many new features such as Instant Actions, scheduled Sweep, and Categories and this update began fully rolling out on November 9, 2011. This update also made SSL enabled by default on all accounts.

1 comment:

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