Outlook.com exits preview: Hotmail users to "upgrade" by Summer 2013

Microsoft has fully launched Outlook.com, its rebranded Hotmail email service, taking the cloud system out of beta and throwing open the doors to users across the globe. Already amassing more than 60m active users, Outlook.com hooks email into Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and puts social network updates where you might – if you're a Gmail user – expect to see adverts.

In fact, Microsoft claims, people have seen on average 60-percent fewer adverts when using the service, because of the social networking getting piped into Outlook.com. Meanwhile, nearly half of all users have used SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud-storage service, with more than half a billion photos and Office documents shared.

Microsoft will also be pushing existing Hotmail users to Outlook.com. The company says that, now the newer service is out of beta, it will "soon upgrade every user"; everybody is expected to be switched over by the summer. Users will keep their existing "@hotmail.com" address, as well as all of their existing content, settings, rules, and the like, but have the new Outlook.com interface and tools.

If you'd rather jump the gun and get Outlook.com today, you can log in with your Hotmail details at the new site; that will switch you over early. More on the service in our original hands-on.