Praised for being the first mass email service and then vilified because of the amount of spam that it attracted, Hotmail has had a chequered history and now there’s a new reincarnation being rolled out to tightly integrate with Microsoft’s web apps service. With Gmail being the perceived major player in the webmail world it is difficult to see how Hotmail can reassert itself. However, given the new features while it may not lure Gmail users away, it looks as though exist Hotmail users will be getting a turbocharged service.

Microsoft outlines the new features as:

Keep your inbox free of spam

Using the same Microsoft SmartScreen® technology used in other Microsoft products like Microsoft Office Outlook® and Internet Explorer®, Hotmail is automatically helping to filter out junk mail for you.

Sweep away unwanted email

As you complete email actions like deleting email or moving email into folders, the new Sweep tool will prompt you to see if you wish to automatically apply that action to all similar email in the future.

Send hundreds of photos without worrying about size limits

We’ve built a way to send up to 10 GB of content via a single message—up to 200 photos or 200 files of up to 50 MB in size each. When you hit send, we deliver a nicely formatted email with a link to where the photos are stored on your password-protected Windows Live™ SkyDrive™. Recipients can then easily view your photos as a slide show or download them to their computer.

Smart filters organise your inbox to find the email that matters

Hotmail Quick Views will sort and group email by content or sender into one list in your inbox. Now items like your Facebook updates, or your cable TV bills or just the mail containing photos can be easily sorted with just a few clicks.

View entire email conversations at a glance

With the new Conversation View, you can automatically group all the email you have sent and received on a specific topic together in one view.

Respond to social network notifications without leaving Hotmail

When a friend or family member sends you a link to a YouTube video or a Flickr photo album, you can view it without leaving your inbox. You’ll also be able to take actions on shipping notifications as well as social network invites.

Open, view and edit documents right in your inbox

Now the Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in your inbox can be viewed and edited without leaving Hotmail. If you need to make edits to an attachment, Hotmail lets you do it from your inbox without worrying about downloading files or installing software. You can even start a PowerPoint slide show and it will include all the animations and transitions.

Share Microsoft Office documents online and work together with others

Just like how you can share large photo albums, Hotmail lets you send large documents and other files via a link—up to 200 files, each up to 50 MB—using online storage, so you avoid clogging up anyone’s inbox. And by sending from your Hotmail account, recipients can also use the free Microsoft Office Web Apps to view and edit your document—no matter what email service they use or version of Microsoft Office they have installed.