Windows Hotmail, or Live Mail, is being upgraded. Although I downloaded Windows Live Essentials – Wave 4 Beta, my Live mail hasn’t changed yet. It’s being rolled out region by region. I’ve gone through a couple other mail upgrades, but I think with this one, we’ll have some real enhancements. Although I don’t have the new Live mail yet, I have some screenshots Microsoft has provided to show you what’s coming:
- Smart Screen Technology (new & improved spam filter)
- Mail sorting/viewing options
- View Office documents in your browser – and you don’t have to have Office installed
- Integrate Gmail, Yahoo Plus, AOL mail & POP mail in your Live/Hotmail account
- Contact duplicate eliminator
Smart Screen Technology (Spam Filter)
This is something I’m hoping really works. All mail I receive is verified by this Smart Screen. It’s supposed to be smart enough to figure out if an email I get is from a spam source AND if I’m thinking about opening up a particular email that’s marked as spam, it’ll tell me in a message at the top of my email. It warns that the source has been marked as ‘spammy’, and to be careful about opening it.
Have you ever told your mail client that something is not spam, but you continue to find messages from that sender in your spam folder? We’ll see if this is fixed.
One other important thing about the new spam filter – after 10 days, anything in the spam folder is automatically deleted. So when you do get the new Hotmail/Live Mail, watch and train your email diligently and be sure to check your spam folder regularly.
Mail Sorting and Viewing Options
Both Outlook and Gmail have enhanced sorting options for your mail. You can choose to view messages by conversation, or threads. Now Live Mail/Hotmail has this feature as well. Threading/conversation view was a ‘big thing’ when Gmail first came out, so adding this feature was a smart move for Microsoft.
View Office Documents In Your Browser
With the new Live Mail, office documents can be opened and viewed without having to open Office on your computer. This is because of the new Microsoft Web Apps recently rolled out. Simply click on the icon and the document will open up in your browser. What I was reading didn’t say, but I’m assuming that you could revise and save the document to your Office Docs in the clouds if you choose to.
Enhanced Picture Sharing Via Live/Hotmail –
Sending and sharing pictures will be easier and more elegant with the new mail. When uploading photos, do remember to set your permission level after each upload – the default is to share with everyone.
Integrate Gmail, Yahoo Plus Mail and POP accounts
With Live/Hotmail, you’ve had the ability to bring in all these accounts to one place for some time, but they are still promoting that. They did not mention that you can also add POP accounts into Hotmail/Live Mail. Here’s an article I wrote that tells how this works. It should be noted that you must have the Yahoo Plus mail in order to import it into Hotmail/Live Mail. The free Yahoo mail does not import.
Manage Your Contacts
A great feature of Live/Hotmail is the ability to clean up your contact list. Perhaps you have imported contacts from other mail accounts or sources and you have multiples of some people. Simply click on contacts and then click on the drop-down ‘Manage’ button and choose to clean up your contacts. You’ll be presented with options for all duplicates found.
This feature is in Outlook (but harder to manage). I didn’t see it in either Gmail or Yahoo mail. I know Plaxo offers it, but it is a paid service there.
I think there’s a lot to look forward to when we all get the new Mail. I like the interface much better than Gmail, having the easy access to my photos, documents and Microsoft Web Apps is very useful for me. One thing about Hotmail on the web are the large, annoying ads that are on my home page. When they flash and change, it’s even more annoying. I’m considering upgrading to the $20/year premium mail where I won’t have to see those. Yahoo’s ads are rather bothersome too. I think Gmail has the least offensive ads and they are smaller.