It was a long road, lots of research, lots of development, a private beta and two years of public beta… and now Windows Live Hotmail is officially out of beta. I want to give a huge congrats to the team and I must say I kind of wish I could have been there. I must admit, after having been there for the first two years of the process (and for six years total), I felt kind of sad seeing all the great pictures of the team posted on today’s blog entry.
Though I’m sad I missed the end run, I don’t regret my move to Ireland one bit. Congratulations guys on a fantastic release!
Earlier this spring Leah and I sat down with a videographer to talk about Live.com I’m such a geek and I could go on for hours talking about the stuff we do… I give a ton of credit to the editor and interviewer to be able to get something useful out of my endlessly meandering, spastic attention-span geek talk. We talked for a long time. It was really a ton of fun and they did some cool stuff making a virtual office with a few little bits you can click on (yep, you can find a picture of me with my mommy).
Check out the Inside site.
Check out what Nicole from the messenger team had to say about it (she has a promising career as a fact checker).
Several weeks back Ina Fried from c|net came to campus and interviewed a bunch of people. Her piece is now up on c|net news.com. It’s a good read to give folks a little glimpse into the team.
Ina spent the majority of the day with people around campus and a lunch in a conference room with some of us “old folks” from Hotmail. I’m not that old… really, honest. I wasn’t even “acquired” with Hotmail. I just have shown a decided lack of vision and stuck with the team for the past six years. Demonstrating the power of the sound-byte, I was only with her for the lunch part but ended up with my own side bar. As a result I’m now working on growing a mullet.
Hey Warhol. is this going to be deducted from my fifteen minutes?
According to Reuters, a Chinese Journalist, Li Yuanlong was charged with Subversion for sending e-mails via a Hotmail account. The indictment did not come, however, with help from Microsoft. The wife of the journalist was told by Chinese officials that her husband was arrested for e-mails sent via a Hotmail account, but it is unclear how the Chinese officials came by the information they used to charge Yuanlong. Unlike the case where Yahoo was accused of handing over a dissident’s information to Chinese officials, Microsoft and Hotmail were not the source of the information leading to the arrest.
On a related note, this freedom of speech issue keeps coming back in the news and each time the articles point out that MS closed a Space (blog) last year at the request of the Chinese government. The reports always fail to mention, however, that the MSN Spaces team hated that action and built a solution… Spaces now has adjusted their filtering so it is dependent on the country of the user (see MC’s post for more detail), allowing them to adjust the filtering to align more closely to local standards.
The story Reuters published yesterday did not have details from Microsoft at the time of publishing. A follow up story today clarifies the MS position with comments from a Microsoft spokesperson.
The support team for Windows Live Mail has put up a new blog with a bunch of great information for users (and prospective users) of the Windows Live Mail Beta. There are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), common problems and known issues.
Check it out, I give it a
I just posted to the team blog about upcoming improvements to the Windows Live Mail beta. The languages we were hoping to roll out back in December should be coming out very soon. If they’re not out by the end of this month, I’ll eat…
… um …
… this tasty, fresh Twinkie snack cake (aw heck, I’m just being realistic, this is software, after all, and the wind can shift direction without warning).
At any rate, the English speakers in Canada should be happy to know that they’ll soon be able to join the crowd from the UK, US and AU. As soon as we roll out French for Canada we’ll also be able to roll out English (we want to be fair, after all).
So if you’re on the list, be patient, we’re upgrading servers as fast as we can. If you’re not on the list, what the heck are you waiting for? Get over to http://ideas.live.com and sign up!
And now, a picture of my dog cross-bred with a Brewer’s Blackbird:
You may be wondering, what is “up-level” for the Windows Live Mail beta? For now “up-level” means IE 6 and 7.
I am now sitting here picturing the sparkle that has just come to the eye of all the Microsoft haters and conspiracy aficionados reading this. I’m picturing them clapping gleefully as they hop from foot to foot, pointing accusingly: “I knew it! You’re just trying to force us to use IE! This is just another glaring example of Microsoft forcing its software down our throats! You’re all evil footservants of the great lord of darkness, Bill Gates! [exceedingly long string of expletives removed for the sake of brevity, let’s just say that Lenny Bruce would have blushed]“
Yes, Sherlock, you caught us… red handed. That’s right Kojak, you nabbed us focusing our early development efforts on a single browser to speed initial development. Congratulations Barney Fife, you found us cutting a corner to get our latest product into the hands of customers as early as possible so our beta testers could help us mold the future of the application. We’re guilty of that age old sin of limiting the number of variables when approaching a difficult problem. You may now read us our rights.
Yes, Windows Live Mail beta has all the fancy features only available for IE 6 and 7, for now. Read what you like into that.
Oh, by the way… if you are using IE 6 on the beta and want to see what the other version looks like, check out Ellie’s space… she has the method for changing the URL so you’ll get the basic UI in IE 6 or 7.
Mike, I don’t want to hear that it’s impossible to clap and point at the same time. It’s called imagery, look into it you hack. :-p
The latest update to Windows Live Mail beta was released to the world today. There are lots of great improvements including performance, in-line spell checking and the introduction of the “down-level” experience (the non-AJAX version for older browsers). The best place for a quick summary is Steve’s post and the best place for lots of details is Imran’s post to the mailcall blog (be sure to also check out the video on spell checking).
I’m hoping we’ll also hear from Ellie soon too… she led the effort to develop the downlevel client. Working with a development team in China (both from here in Mountain View, California and by flying out to Shanghai) as well as developers here Ellie got the first downlevel version ready to ship. As with the first Kahuna betas, this isn’t complete yet… but it will evolve as well.
Some spell check video trivia for you:
I get this question a lot: “how do I get on the beta?” I get it almost as much as “could you please send me an invite?”
Well, we’ve taken the human element out getting on the beta (and that’s good news for you). Now, instead of prostrating yourself on every Windows Live Mail blog you can find, you can simply go to http://ideas.live.com. On Windows Live Ideas you’ll find out how to get on the waiting list of the Windows Live Mail beta as well as several other cool betas we have in the works.