Microsoft pushing yet more new Hotmail features to users

The Hotmail Wave 4 refresh, which Microsoft execs said was completed in early August, is turning into more of a rolling rollout.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The Hotmail Wave 4 refresh, which Microsoft execs said was completed in early August, is turning into more of a rolling rollout.

After delivering new Wave 4 features like Sweep and ActiveViews to all 350 million Hotmail users worldwide, the Hotmail team began trickling out additional fixes and updates. In late August, Microsoft turned on Exchange ActiveSync support for Hotmail on iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices. And on September 23, the Hotmail team announced it was rolling out more new features, like package tracking through ActiveViews, nested folder support, Facebook chat from within Hotmail and more.

In a September 23 post to the "Inside Windows Live" blog, Group Program Manager Dick Craddock explained more about the pace and strategy behind the Hotmail rollout:

"Following this (early August Wave 4) release, you may have noticed a string of smaller updates. Some were planned, like push email, calendar, and contacts through Exchange ActiveSync, but others were the results of feedback we received and acted on during the rollout. We put a lot of time and effort into careful planning, but we also recognize that with any release, we can improve, so we do our best to listen closely and respond actively to feedback. Some of the feedback we’ve addressed with updates in the last few weeks include the way you can view message source (right-click in the Inbox is back!), an easier reply action in threaded conversations, and more visible signout for the integrated Messenger on the web.

"In addition to these adjustments, we’re beginning today to roll out new features and highlight new partners that will continue to address the customer needs we focused on this summer."

LiveSide.net noted yesterday that the Hotmail Calendar Service got an update to include support for weather updates. There was no mention of that in the new Windows Live blog posting today.

LiveSide also noted that some of the other Windows Live services -- the Web-only ones, not the software and service ones known as "Windows Live Essentials" -- have been refreshed, as well. Windows Live Devices got a refresh, and a LinkedIn integration option was added to to users' Windows Live accounts.

The final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011 still has yet to be released to the Web, though that is expected to happen any time now that "Fall" has begun officially. That rollout should be more final, I'd think.  I doubt there will be constant refreshes and updates to the Essentials 2011 offerings, in the way that's happening with the Web-only Windows Live services.

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