Hotmail storage increased to 5GB

Microsoft has surpassed Google in the race to give away online data storage, increasing the free storage space it offers users of the Windows Live Hotmail email service to 5GB.

However, Users who pay $15(7.47) annually for an enhanced account will get 10GB of email storage.

The storage changes will be rolled out to all the customers over the next few weeks. Google's Gmail, which has been increasing user email storage every day for over a year, currently offers around 2.8GB of free storage for a free account. Yahoo mail users have been enjoying the benefits of infinite mail since March when Yahoo announced unlimited storage space for all email accounts set up on its service.

Among the many updates to Hotmail are enhancements to the speed of entire mail service. "Speed is one of the most important aspects of a web-based email service. We've spent more time in this release identifying what parts of the product are slowest and fixing those" said Ellie Powers Boyle, Windows Live Hotmail product manager at Microsoft.

The restrictions set in place to block the viewing of spam images and links have been relaxed to allow users to access legitimate risqu content, but revised anti-spam technology will also be implemented. Other new features include improved integration of Outlook meeting requests with the online calendar and address book data cleaning and de-duplication tools.