Microsoft Hotmail Program Manager, Matthew O'Day, posted a sneak peak at some of the cool features added over the fall to help users manage their inboxes.
Hotmail really, really fast
"Performance is hugely important to that as well, and this summer we did a lot of work on the service to make it faster. Compared to spring of 2011, we're now more than 10 times faster in most places, including more than 20 times faster from inbox to compose and inbox to delete," said Matthew.
He says "It's always been a goal of ours to make Hotmail feel more like a desktop application. We've borrowed interface elements from Outlook (e.g., the reading pane, right click/drag actions), we support pinning to the Windows 7 taskbar with Internet Explorer 9, and, of course, Hotmail is great for managing e-mail from your other POP-enabled accounts."
To that end, the following has been implemented:
- Caching - we are smart about storing data in your browser's Document Object Model (DOM) while you're browsing your inbox - which allows for quicker access. (If you close your browser or sign out of Hotmail, this data is erased.)
- Pre-loading - similar to caching, but predictive. For example, when you load your inbox initially, we will pre-load some of the first unread messages in the background.
- Asynchronous operations - we'll complete separate actions in parallel now. Delete commands are queued up in the background as the inbox refreshes, meaning you don't have to wait for one to complete the other.
- SmartScreen - our multi-product technology works as the first line of defense in Hotmail. We've got tons more info about how SmartScreen works in this blog post.
- Elimination of botnets - those clusters of zombified computers that can send up to 30 billion spam messages a day? We work with law enforcement to eliminate them - which helps to lower total spam flowing through the internet.
- Organization of graymail - while we're always working to improve spam detection, we're also helping our users better deal with newsletters and offers that they may have signed up for with features like sweep, customized quick views, folders and categories.
Microsoft offered full e-mail, calendar and contact sync on Windows Phone, but to improve coverage on other popular platforms. The company has added Exchange support - which allows iOS users to get the full e-mail, contact and calendar experience as well.
Also, the Hotmail team is adding following new features to make inbox organization easier and to help fight against graymail:
- Smart newsletter filtering - including "One-click unsubscribe"
- Custom categories and Quick Views, and advanced folder management
- Schedule cleanup - and keeping only the latest message from a sender
- Flags done right - pinning to the top of your inbox