After reading reports that only 1% of Microsoft customers had received the updated hotmail, I was ready to wait a number of months before getting access to the updated Windows Live Hotmail UI. Much to my surprise, this morning I logged into hotmail and I know have the new version.
If you’ve been waiting anxiously for the update, it may be time to check your Hotmail.
Borrowing from Outlook, Microsoft have finally added Rules to Hotmail. This allows users to route email to specific folders based on user-selected parameters. This feature alone will mean most home users no longer need Outlook or even Live Mail. A couple of nice inclusions are Mobile alerts (needs configuring) and flagging.
Another new feature in the new Hotmail is Sweep, this allows for bulk control of email. Designed to save you time when organising lots of email at once.
At the top of your inbox now, there’s a number of filters available. Selecting any of them will instantly filter your inbox to only display mail that meets the selected criteria. Something like Social updates for example only shows email from Services Like Windows Live or Facebook.
This feature really makes a lot of sense, when you think about the crossover between the people you email and the people you IM. While these people may not be exactly the same, a typical workflow may involve receiving an email from a contact, then seeing their presence set to online, then you can follow up the email via an instant message conversation.
There’s a new simplified compose email toolbar, allowing for easy insertion of your standard Attachments and Photos, but the new addition is the ‘From Bing’ option. The screen shot below shows the images search Images pane on the right, but what’s surprising is the lack of integration from your Windows Live Photos, this should really be a source to select from the Photos drop down.
One of my favourite new features is Active View, allowing for content like images and video to viewed right within the email. Clicking on content launches a lightbox-type window allowing for video playback or a pretty slick image slideshow.
Overall the Windows Live team has done some great work here, adding features that show an understanding of how real-world people use email today. If you don’t have the New Windows Live Hotmail, there’s nothing you can really do to speed up the process, Microsoft is slowly rolling it out across all users.
More @ WindowsLive