It was a surprise waiting for me when I logged in to Hotmail last night .. I noticed the green button glowing under the Hotmail sign asking me to sign up for testing the new Hotmail Beta .. I thought wow Ive been selected as one of the lucky people who can actually test and contribute to the service before its released .. I clicked on the button immediately and was presented with a Beta signup agreement page which I read and accepted .. I was eager to see the new features ..
The interface: When I logged in to Hotmail beta (aka Kahuna) the first thing to notice is changed interface .. I really liked what I saw .. Such clean interface reminding me of Outlook 2003 .. Clicking on Inbox lead me to the folder where message view was selected as three pane view which is default in Outlook 2003 .. And when you click a message in the Preview Pane, its content are displayed in the Reading Pane immediately without the need to refresh the page .. Some features such as MSN Messenger contacts info was missing from email page .. I saw in their info pages though that they will soon be adding it… The Calender is also integrated seamlessly into the interface .. The Calender’s interface is also similar to the Outlook .. Adding new events such as Reminders or Notes is possible just at a click ..
New Features: Now thats the best part .. New features include :
- Now you can drag and drop messages from one folder to another .. Very handy feature ..!
- You got a nice context menu – most often used options such as Reply / Forward are available when you right click on a message ..
- When you write a new mail, you got a nice Address autocomplete feature just like the Gmail one .. The MSN Messenger contacts are already imported to the address book so finding the recipient is easy as pie .. I knew this was coming as Yahoo also added it recently ..
- And now you can compose emails in rich text format too ..!! You can add colors and emoticons and set formatting as you like .. Looks nice too .. 🙂
- There are new shortcut keys (limited at the moment though) for often used functions .. I wish I could customize them .. Hope they add the feature in the final version …
- There is a new anti phishing feature .. You’ll be warned if the message you are viewing is from an unknown source making it difficult for phishers to dodge you by displaying fake information ..
- And the best of all .. Yes .. you will get 2 Gb of space for your account ..!! How much is the attachment size limit is not clear yet but this is much better from that measly 25 Mb ..
It works very fast too .. Now its nice to see all major email service providers fighting to give the best features to the users .. Most of my experience with Kahuna was nice … The only problem that I find is its only supporting Internet Explorer 6 or above right now .. I hope they will soon add support for more browsers .. I submitted two feedbacks yesterday .. Ill find out more features today .. 🙂
And if you want to test the new Hotmail Beta, Try registering here .. ..
You can find more screenshots here