Today I was in Sydney for the official announcement of the upcoming version of Windows Live Hotmail. The new version is to be released ‘in the coming months’ and aims to reduce clutter, save time and share documents in the cloud.
The problem according to Microsoft is that “email hasn’t changed to cater for new and emerging trends in the last 14 years".
There’s also a new photo preview mode (above) so you don’t have to download large sized photos from friends, just select the one you want. There’s also a nice option to download all at once as a zip file.
This area shows not only email, but status updates from your friends on their social networks, appointments and birthday reminders.
Single Contact List
Your contact list will including people from your other social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace allowing you to view all your contacts in one place.
A feature borrowed from Office 2010 (or Google) is conversation view. This allows emails to be grouped together when it’s identified they belong to the same conversation. This saves space in your inbox, so you have one (expandable) entry, rather than dozens about the same thing. This is a strong part of the de-cluttering of the inbox initiative. Conversation view is opt-in, so those fans of old-school can be comfortable.
A new sweep button allows for mass management of your email. Windows Live Mail will finally allow for outlook-type rules to move email to specific folders. A welcome inclusion.
A number of partner sites like Flickr, Linked In and YouTube, allow for content like photos and videos to be ‘live previewed’. This means you can view them directly in the email without having to launch a separate application or webpage. Internationally US residents will be able to use Active View with Hulu videos.
Exchange Push for Mobile
Something I’ve wanted Microsoft to do was something Google already offers and has done for months. Free exchange push email, contacts and calendar to mobile devices. The good news today is that Exchange Push from Microsoft is on it’s way!
Check out the video version of today’s announcements below.
Today’s announcements were positive for Windows Live Hotmail, but its important to remember there’s a long way to go. A number of the new features in the announcement today will make managing that mountain of email a whole lot easier. The ability to send Office documents to people without Office and know A. they can open them and B. they can edit them is awesome functionality.
For more information check out http://windowslivepreview.com/hotmail/new/