Every afternoon (or early morning, for our European readers) we feature three must-read stories about tech that were published in the last 24 hours. Some got a lot of attention, some flew under the radar.  We aim for stories that are interesting and provide background information about current trends in the world of tech.

Here is today’s selection:

ZDNet: How IE’s HTML5 support could affect Hotmail (and other browser musings)

This post by veteran Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley comes at a good time, given that Microsoft today started a new PR campaign to get Gmail and Yahoo Mail users to consider Hotmal again. Looking at Microsoft’s work on an HTML5-enhanced version of Bing, Foley wonders what this means for Hotmail. Even if your are Gmail user and don’t usually lie awak thinking about Hotmail, I think it’s worth taking a look at what Microsoft is doing with its webmail product these days. There have been lots of new features lately (some ahead of what Gmail and co. currently offer) and judging from this story, Microsoft could go as far as replacing its consumer desktop email client with an HTML5 version of Hotmail.

Here is the most important quote from Foley’s contact at Microsoft:

“The Softies are working on an HTML5 version of Hotmail with something that few people understand the consequences of: offline storage,” my contact said. “They are planning on replacing the Windows Live Mail client with it.”

News.me Gets Ready to Launch

AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka has been following the development of the New York Time’s collaboration with URL shortener bit.ly closely over the last few months. Now it looks as if the service is just about ready to launch (or, at least, it’s got a new website). What’s interesting about yet another news aggregator? Well – this one has the blessing of the publishers it aggregates. It will come in the form of an iPad app and email newsletter (both will require a $0.99 per week subscription).

News.me will pay the publishers a fee every time one of their articles is read through the service (it will offer a Readability-like text-only view, too).

Are Barack Obama and Facebook Getting Too Friendly?

I was a bit worried about the White House’s close relationship with Google in the early days of Obama’s presidency. Now, Politico’s Michelle Quinn writes about the president’s visit to Facebook’s headquarter:

“President Barack Obama and Facebook both have a lot to gain when he holds a town hall meeting at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters Wednesday.

Obama can burnish his high-tech, ‘win the future’ image by tying himself to Facebook ahead of the 2012 campaign. And Facebook can signal that it’s a serious player on the national stage by hosting the president ahead of a much-expected IPO.”

Bonus Link: Hashify.me

Store text in a (very long) URL. Given the problems the Independent had with it’s new URL scheme today, this little tool gives us some new understanding what a humble URL can do.

Also worth reading: Why working in a coffee shop is often so productive.

Image credit: losmininos