Tag Archives | Hotmail

Hotmail’s Active Views Get More Active

When Microsoft rolled out its major Hotmail upgrade last year, one big new feature was Active Views–the ability for Hotmail to do stuff such as as display Hulu videos and Flickr slideshows right in your inbox, as well as identify e-mails with shipping-service tracking numbers in them and show the package’s status. Today the company is announcing some additional Active View capabilities that let Web companies produce e-mails that behave a whole lot like Web pages. The idea, as before, is to let Hotmail users take action on e-mails without having to hop out of Hotmail at all.

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Hotmail Brings E-Mail Aliases to the Masses

The tech-savvy among us know its completely possible to have a single physical email address, yet be able to make it appear as if we have more through the use of an alias. Well, enter Microsoft, which is bringing this to the masses in the form of what it’s calling throwaway e-mail addresses.

Possible uses for this are almost limitless: For example, you can create an alias to give to untrusted web sites, then create a rule to forward all those potential e-mails to a specific folder to keep your inbox unclogged. Got a less than professional e-mail address? Hide it with a much more dignified one.

“The average person maintains three different email addresses,” Windows Live product management director Dharmesh Mehta reported. He added the updates save the user time by allowing one account to appear as many, rather than the need to maintain several disparate accounts.

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Hotmail Sans Self-Promotion

When I wrote about the neat new version of Hotmail last month, I failed to mention one long-standing downside of the service: It adds a text ad for itself at the end of your messages, which makes it a non-starter for business use and a tad cheesy even if you’re just e-mailing pals and relatives.

Now Michael Arrington is reporting that Microsoft will kill off that tagline, starting today. Good news. If I were Microsoft, I’d also contemplate tweaks to the ad panel in the Hotmail interface–I get that it’s the ads that make Hotmail free, but Microsoft’s giant, distracting display advertisements make Hotmail feel fundamentally less serious and professional than Gmail’s text-based ad links.


Webmail: Is It Ever Too Late to Switch?

The upcoming Hotmail upgrade looks like it’ll be the first Web-based mail client since Yahoo’s 2005 makeover with enough tangible benefits to make the idea of switching from another service worth contemplating, at least. Which got me to thinking: Do very many people really jump from one Webmail client to another these days?

Hotmail uses technology from TrueSwitch to import mail and contacts, so it should be possible for a Gmail user (for instance) to transition to Hotmail without too much in the way of technical challenges. Or you can use techniques such as POP access or forwarding to get e-mail from your old service into Hotmail without having to give up the old address.

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Hotmail Heats Up: Major Upgrade On Its Way

For several years, describing the competition between the three major Webmail providers as a race has failed to adequately capture what’s been going on. Google has been adding features to Gmail at a breakneck pace–sometimes several in one week–while Yahoo Mail and Hotmail have been ambling along as if they weren’t in it to win it. (At least in terms of quality–Yahoo Mail remains the most widely-used service in the U.S., with Hotmail in second place and the less-venerable Gmail still playing catchup.)

Now Microsoft is giving Hotmail–which is still the most popular service internationally–its first major makeover in a long time. The company expects to make the new version available in July or August; it gave me early access to a preliminary version. It’s not about aiming for feature parity with Gmail: The basics of Hotmail’s look and feel remain largely unchanged, and there are many, many useful Gmail features that have no counterparts, such as one-click archiving, a built-in task manager, and the ability to insert applets such as Google’s calendar gadget.

Judged on its own terms, though, this new Hotmail is appealing–and most of what’s new really is new, with no precise equivalent in Gmail. Hotmail also feels less densely packaged with stuff, I could see some folks preferring it to Gmail, which is beginning to flirt with bloat.  (Bonus point in Hotmail’s favor: You can now choose either a threaded inbox or a traditional flat one, a pleasant change from Gmail’s mandatory conversation view.) Continue Reading →


Free POP3 Hotmail Access Returns in US

windowsliveSeveral years back, you could access your Hotmail accounts via POP3 access. Then spam became a big problem, and Microsoft pulled the functionality. It would return, although as part of the $19.95/yr Hotmail Plus package introduced two years ago.

The company has already rolled out POP3 functionality to users in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands late last month.

Users in US and Brazil have been added to that list as of this week, with still more markets to come throughout the year.

Here’s the settings you need:

POP server: pop3.live.com (Port 995)
POP SSL required? Yes
User name: Your Windows Live ID, for example yourname@hotmail.com
Password: The password you usually use to sign in to Hotmail or Windows Live
SMTP server: smtp.live.com (Port 25)
Authentication required? Yes (this matches your POP username and password)
TLS/SSL required? Yes

My MS friend who sends me this stuff tells me if you have the redesigned “Wave 3” user interface, POP3 should work.