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After a period of beta testing, it was officially released to new and existing users in the Netherlands on November 9, 2006, as a pilot market.
Development of the beta was finished in April 2007, Windows Live Hotmail was released to new registrations on May 7, 2007, as the 260 million MSN Hotmail accounts worldwide gained access to the new system.
Other webmail enthusiasts also wanting to try the beta version could request an invitation granting access.
The new service was built from scratch and emphasized three main concepts of being "faster, simpler, and safer".
The exploitable vulnerability exposed millions of accounts to tampering between August 7, 2001 and August 31, 2001.
Microsoft's new email system was announced on November 1, 2005, under the codename "Kahuna", and a beta version was released to a few thousand testers.
The name "Hotmail" was chosen out of many possibilities ending in "-mail" as it included the letters HTML, the markup language used to create web pages (to emphasize this, the original type casing was "Ho TMai L"). Hotmail quickly gained in popularity as it was localized for different markets around the globe, and became the world's largest webmail service with more than 30 million active members reported by February 1999.
Support for Firefox in the upgraded Windows Live Hotmail took a few months to complete.
By 2009, support for Google Chrome was still incomplete, prompting the Chrome developers to temporarily ship a browser that employed user agent spoofing when making requests to the Windows Live site.
Similar to other major webmail services, uses Ajax programming techniques and supports later versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome.
Some of its features include keyboard controls giving the ability to navigate around the page without using the mouse, the ability to search the user's messages including structured query syntax such as "from:ebay", message filters, folder-based organization of messages, auto-completion of contact addresses when composing, contact grouping, importing and exporting of contacts as CSV files, rich text formatting, rich text signatures, spam filtering and virus scanning, support for multiple addresses, and different language versions.