Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 Milestone 1 (M1)

Rolling out since August 31st, 2009

Users might not even have noticed anything different, as they were getting a taste of the evolution of Windows Live Hotmail. According to Microsoft, the first development milestone of Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 was introduced on August 31st, 2009. The Redmond-based company made a point of keeping the release of Windows Live Hotmail Wave 3 under the radar, except for an announcement on the Windows Live Help hotspot, but nothing on the official Windows Live or Windows Live Hotmail official blogs. At the time of writing this article, Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 Milestone 1 (M1) has been live for half a month.

“Please Note: Since we rollout in a staggered approach not all users will see the change on the same day. The M1 release will happen on a period of 2-3 weeks and should be site wide by mid September,” noted the Support Technical Lead for Windows Live Hotmail (via LiveSide).

There are a number of features that evolved, and there are a number of new additions to Windows Live Hotmail, synonymous with the introduction of the M1 build. Users are bond to notice changes related to Auto Refresh of Inbox, Auto save Drafts, Keyboard Shortcuts, Contact Picker improvements, Download all attachments, WebIM Contact List, Mobile browser improvements, and Action Bar at bottom of page.

“Auto Refresh of Inbox - If a user is logged into WebIM, their inbox will automatically refresh. Currently this is set to 60 seconds. Please note that customers currently will not have an option to change the refresh interval or turn off this option,” the Support Technical Lead for Windows Live Hotmail noted.

Microsoft has also expanded the list of keyboard shortcuts available to end users, to bring Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 on par with what rivals Yahoo and Google have to offer with their respective email services. In addition, Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 M1 now saves emails being written automatically to the drafts folder. The Auto save Drafts feature works while users compose their messages, and will save the email once every three minutes. Currently, Microsoft does not allow Windows Live Hotmail users to modify the frequency of the save interval or even to disable the option.

“Contact Picker Improvements - Users can now edit contacts in compose, recently e-mailed data used in auto-complete and contact picker, copy/paste enabled for IE, verify recipients enabled,” the Support Technical Lead for Windows Live Hotmail added. “Verify recipients: When the user types in an email address, upon completion of the email address, Hotmail verifies if the email address is ‘valid’. If the recipient is bad, it is flagged ‘Red’ and the user can edit the entry. When the user hovers over the email address, we will show a tooltip that explains the email address is bad.”

Additional enhancements involve the introduction of the “Download all attachments” option. Specifically, users are able to grab multiple attachments from an email packaged as a ZIP archive, rather than download items one by one. “WebIM Contact List - Buddy list of online friends now available from the WebIM Dropdown. Mobile browser improvements - A number of backend changes to improve performance on mobile devices/browsers. Action Bar at bottom of page - Reply/Forward/Delete is now available from both the top and bottom of an email,” the Support Technical Lead for Windows Live Hotmail said.

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