Hotmail Adds More Spam Blocking and Management Features

Microsoft has announced plans to introduce better spam blocking functionality by the end of the year.  Building on the series of spam-fighting technologies the Hotmail team has already rolled out this year, Microsoft says the upcoming tools will target ““gray mail” – defined as email that isn’t necessarily spam, but it is email that you personally don’t want to receive.

New features include:

Changes to the Sweep feature. Sweep gave users the ability to move messages in bulk from one mailbox to another based on preset criteria. Now, you can schedule clean-ups and mass delete messages.

Better newsletter filtering.   A new filtering feature will automatically identify inbound newsletters and put them into a folder which can be deleted. Users can also leverage this feature to get removed from mailing lists and block additional newsletters by selecting Unsubscribe which triggers a Hotmail notification to the company asking them to remove you from their email list.

Enhanced folder management.  This feature will allow users to create and apply their own categories to individual email messages inline as opposed to the current two step process. Users will be able to right-click on a message to rename, delete, empty or mark as “unread.”

Better Housekeeping. Users will be able to set auto delete parameters on old emails  – like after 10, 20 or 30 days, and they will be able to choose whether to keep a whole thread of emails, or just the last message from the sender.

Keep high priority emails on top.  You will be able to flag messages and have them stay at the top of your inbox no matter how many new emails come in.

Make real-time choices. You will also be able to see buttons for common email tasks when you hover over a message. This allows you to delete, flag, sort, etc. in one step rather than two.  You will also be able to customize the buttons you see, or turn of the ‘Instant Action’ feature.

“Back in the day, Hotmail was the number one. But we lost our way a little bit. Gmail came on board, and suddenly we were getting things like storage all wrong, and not really focusing on users as much as we should, piping quite a few advertisements into Hotmail and not putting good enough controls around spam. We really are [now] focusing heavily on making the fundamentals — the non-glamorous stuff like spam protection, privacy, security and performance — are all best in class,” said Mark West, Microsoft product marketing manager for Windows Live, told ZDNet UK.

There’s something to look forward to.



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