I notice I'd written about Windows Live a while back, so before I close Blogger and go to get a cup of tea I'll write a quick update.
I applied for the Live mail trial a while back. You have to be a US resident (on your msn profile) to qualify for the trial, so it's a good thing I am! *cough* When you apply you get an email to your hotmail account saying "Thank you for applying for the trial blah blah you'll be switched over soon and won't lose any of your mail". I was switched over about three or four weeks after applying for the trial.
Hotmail needed an update. I had a ridiculous 2MB of space. My phone has more memory than that! I kept my Hotmail account for historical reasons; there are some people who only have my hotmail address and I've never bothered asking them to email me from another address. Also I use MSN Messenger and therefore am tied to my hotmail address (at least by virtue of being constantly reminded it exists every time I sign in) whether I like it or not.
Crucially Live mail gives you 2 gigs of space. This means I can stop purging all those old emails which I really didn't want to delete (I'm a total hoarder when it comes to emails..) It also means I can feel comfortable with people sending me attachments now and not have to worry about whether other peoples' mails are bouncing because someone sent me a hilarious animated gif of someone getting horribly mutilated (yes I am that popular to receive emails from more than one person and also to receive animated gifs in my mails).
The amount of space Live mail gives saved my Hotmail account. I was on the verge of moving people to my gmail account solely because of the space. I don't actually like gmail, it just doesn't look nice to me. Looks wise Live mail doesn't differ too much from Hotmail. It appears a lot less cluttered but I think that's due to less ads or different coloured ads on the side and top of the window than anything else.
There is now a preview pane so that you can view your inbox and the content of a mail at the same time. That's about it...
The one thing I miss from Hotmail is the ability to write plain text emails. I can't find an option for it so I assume they've completely removed it from Live mail.
So basically Live mail is Hotmail with 2 gigs of space. For me at least. There are other features which "power users" might appreciate like keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop of emails, etc but for me the crucial difference is the increase in space, and I'm very happy about that. Thanks Microsoft! :o)