Hotmail Gets a New Face as was a mainstay for early web-based email adopters, but the sun is setting on the email provider.

Owner Microsoft Corp is phasing out Hotmail and replacing it with an online version of its popular desktop-based email client, Outlook. With the shift to, Microsoft hopes to update its product and tie in Hotmail with Microsoft’s other services. Similar to how Gmail and Google act as an online hub for communication, Microsoft is also attempting to centralize old Hotmail user’s online experience.

However, Microsoft is taking their update one step further than Google has. They plan on integrating Facebook, Twitter and other Microsoft service contacts into the hub. The new platform will contain ads (a good sign for online media buyers) but is also designed to bridge the gap between the old Hotmail and the demands of today’s online users.

“We designed it to be applicable to tablets in particular,” said Brain Hall, general manager of Windows, the group that oversaw Hotmail. The new design will have attributes of Hotmail but integrate the social media features that most users are using. It is streamlined, and features several built-in features to automatically filter our newsletters and filler email that isn’t urgent, but that isn’t quite spam either.

In addition, users can see recent status updates from their Facebook friends and Twitter contacts. There are plans to add Skype voice and video calling in the future. Although there will be display ads, they won’t be targeted to users’ activity. Media buyers may see this as a drawback, but Microsoft views the inbox targeting practice used by Google to be invasive to users’ privacy. Ads will only appear in the inbox and not when an email is opened.

During a preview period, Hotmail users will be introduced to and encouraged to make the switch. Other interested users can opt in to create a new address and begin managing email from one location. Over time, all hotmail users will be moved over to, but there is no firm date for the transfers.

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