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Preview of New MSN Hotmail

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the next-generation-of-web-interfaces dept.

Microsoft 357

An anonymous reader writes "Here is a Preview of a new MSN Hotmail system, using AJAX. Currently in Beta testing." Most interesting is how the user interface more closely resembles a traditional local application. It's definitely a big step in that direction.

cancel ×

357 comments

FIRST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764725)

FUUUUURST

Hehe... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764729)

See below for attempts at justifying why Gmail is still better, despite anything Microsoft throw at us!

Come on, this is just too predictable.

Re:Hehe... (4, Funny)

TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764748)

Gmail is better because Google does no evil! And... um... they have Google Earth and stuff!

Oh, and also, a Microsoft coder bit my sister once...

Re:Hehe... (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764844)

Oh, and also, a Microsoft coder bit my sister once...

Microsoft coder bites can be very painful you know.

Re:Hehe... (1, Funny)

dalleboy (539331) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764875)

May I have your sisters' phone number?

Re:Hehe... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764962)

>>Oh, and also, a Microsoft coder bit my sister once...

A wooden stake through her heart should fix that. Or some holy water. Garlic? Silver bullets?

Re:Hehe... (-1, Troll)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764780)

Gmail is still beta. It's not fair to compare it against anything until it gets released for real. What kind of moron trusts their personal e-mail to a beta application?

Re:Hehe... (2, Insightful)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764788)

There is a reason - Microsoft has a tendency to treat every user as novice to the world of computers. Result is a bloatware, which tries to do too many things for you, in of course a cute way. I bet this new version of Hotmail is not going to be much different, of course we have to see it in action; screenshots tell only so much story. I'd really hate if another one of their dogs or a pins try to act cute with me again when all I am trying to do is write a goddamn email.

Re:Hehe... (5, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764921)

Dunno but their Start page [start.com] is quite cool, something like Netvibes but (IMHO) better. Who knows... maybe someday they will offer that service instead of the terrible MSN home page.

BTW, where are all the ads? One of the (many) reasons for me to stop using Hotmail was the animated ads and banners. I would expect those from a porn site but not from my email account. I am sure those will be there when the service goes open.

Oh! and on a sligthly OT note, I guess I wont move to Hotmail again... as in my University (somewhere in UK) the IT people blocked the hotmail URL because it was very dangerous hahahaah nice and lovely.

Re:Hehe... (5, Insightful)

todd10k (889348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764949)

There is a reason - Microsoft has a tendency to treat every user as novice to the world of computers

Seriously, listen to what your saying. Most people are novice user's. They do not know how to untar a file, they do not know what a binary is, or how to compile. they need to learn these things. not everyone has the luxury of being born back in the 70's and growing up while computers evolved beside them.

I dont mean to be rude, but expecting everyone to be of the same skill in operating a computer is moronic. Also, treating everyone the same is best for microsoft. they have to assume the worst about a user when they give them an operating system: that they barely know how to type, just bought it from dell, and have an AOL connection. if you have a high level of skill with a computer, then you should have the competancy to customise your copy of windows as you see fit.

Re:Hehe... (1)

Chunni Babu (920014) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765077)

Actually the pin was a very innovative idea. Unfortunately MS forgot to add a quick stop this nonesense button to the pin. But think about it the pin was a very bold and path-breaking use of Bayesian networks. I think the network was not trained with proper data hence it ended up annoying everyone.

Re:Hehe... (4, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764819)

What I'm wondering is why it took them so long. XMLHttpRequest was invented for Exchange's web access back in the 90s, wasn't it? Why wasn't Microsoft first off the block with public AJAX webmail too?

This is called reputation (1)

marat (180984) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764837)

When I first asked my dad many many years ago why do we have to write our own function for snow-free character output when there's one provided by DOS I had no prejudice against Microsoft.

Re:Hehe... (1)

renderhead (206057) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764864)

Can't say for sure whether gmail is still better, but I predict that it will be. Why? Because I got spam messages in my hotmail account before I even used it for anything, while gmail does a stellar job of filtering out the junk in my inbox.

They can make the user interface as nifty as they like, but it won't solve the problem of why I stopped using Hotmail in the first place.

Easy... (2, Informative)

VP (32928) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764943)

Gmail is better, because it has great localization/internationalization (including, for example, a Bulgarian spellchecker)...

Re:Hehe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13765031)

Blah-blah-blah-does-it-work-in-Firefox/Opera-blah- blah-blah Who cares? Does it work in Lynx?

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764734)

What a shock, it looks exactly like Outlook 2003.

This is good for Microsoft, as it gets people used to their interface and it will ease migration to the new Outlook 2003.

Personally, I find it atrocious. Gmail is lightyears beyond this in terms of usability.

They missed something (-1, Offtopic)

Norfair (845108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764735)

I was sure there used to be a big blue 'G' there somewhere...

Re:They missed something (-1, Offtopic)

Back Slider 1969 (909883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764751)

Right? Too little, too late.
Gmail did it first!

Microsoft To The Web (0, Flamebait)

sycodon (149926) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764739)

Microsoft: Bringing our flakey, resource intensive applications to the web.

Re:Microsoft To The Web (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764973)

But that's the thing - the "resource intensive" part doesn't matter here. It can eat all the server CPU and memory it likes, far as I'm concerned! I'm using a web browser!

Touché on the flaky comment, though... :)

Looks alot like Outlook Express! (-1, Redundant)

ajiva (156759) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764742)

It definitly looks nice, alot like Outlook Express and maybe a bit like the new Yahoo mail. But I still prefer Gmail with its very small out of the way interface. While it would be nice to have Gmail with fancy buttons instead of text labels, it would just clutter up the interface. Either way competition is good!

Re:Looks alot like Outlook Express! (3, Funny)

Raelus (859126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764763)

It acts a lot like Outlook too! Now you can get email viruses from webmail!

Re:Looks alot like Outlook Express! (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764957)

I think outlook express was the best email client out there for years, thunderbird only just makes level, and I'm not talking about features leaking all over the place, I'm talking about a clean interface that does the job. Outlook was a load of kack, but Outlook Express has one of the best email UI I have ever seen, and if it's been beaten, its been beaten by look-alikes.

Sam

Re:Looks alot like Outlook Express! (1)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765046)

Eudora was MILES ahead of Outlook Express. They somehow fucked up on marketing (they still do, I think they're not really interested in selling Eudora anymore) and the product stagnated. For a while, Eudora was the standard for emailers in Windows.

Re:Looks alot like Outlook Express! (2, Interesting)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765092)

I'm getting more people to use gmail in areas that don't have broadband, specifically because of the lack of images. Works well for them, and they are happy.

Why is this good for microsoft? (5, Insightful)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764749)

Microsoft makes its money selling windows and office. I don't see that changing because of gmail. This seems more like a pissing contest than anything else.

I suppose you could make the argument that if in the future software becomes more web-based, it's important to establish as much brand support as possible, because most people will follow the logos they feel more comfortable with.

Re:Why is this good for microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764966)

Because drawing internet traffic also has worth. An MSN Hotmail user is more likely to use their MSN search product and go through their portal, which all generates more ad revenues for MS.

Re:Why is this good for microsoft? (5, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765042)

Microsoft makes its money selling windows and office. I don't see that changing because of gmail. This seems more like a pissing contest than anything else.

Yeah, especially considering they are fighting them on size. Not only are they going 2 gig, but according to the article, you can ask for more. (Kahuna does offer a hefty 2 GB inbox...non-abusive users would be able to go above 2 GB without paying for the privilege.).

Personally, I almost feel like this is a result of Google moving to the desktop. MS didn't seem to react to the idea of a few companies making a lot of money on the Internet, but I think Google's expansion into, well, everything, worries them. I think the purpose of this is to put Google on the defensive.

I'm not a google fanboy, and I don't hate MS so much that I wouldn't use their stuff if it was the best choice. I think that the two of them competing is great, because I'll wind up with better stuff.

CSS (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764755)

From the article:
"MSN describes Kahuna as an incubation project that has been built from the ground up utilizing the latest Web technologies, such as AJAX, a Web application architecture that combines HTML/Dynamic HTML (DHTML) with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), XML, and other technologies."

I know how many hacks I needed to get the CSS for my (simple) web page working in IE. I feel sorry for the people trying to get something this complicated to look good...

One thing comes to mind.... (5, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764756)

..... How tied is this to IE, or by some miracle will it behave exactly the same under other browsers (Firefox, Opera, etc.)?

The article doesn't seem to give any insight on this.

A thought... (1)

Auraiken (862386) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764907)

I noticed that they have the right cick menu as well. What effect would this have on some school computers ( know mine likes to cripple the box so you can't right click, etc ) Are there any workarounds to counter things like this? Or at least being planned to counter?

Re:One thing comes to mind.... (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764963)

From the article: "A lot of users need to be at Internet Explorer (IE) 5.5 or above or equivalent to take advantage of these features."

Re:One thing comes to mind.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765002)

That still doesn't answer if these features will work with non IE browsers. The only thing it says (or implies) is that they tested the beta with older versions of IE and found that the minimum point of entry is 5.5.

Re:One thing comes to mind.... (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765081)

I would guess not; AJAX + DHTML is not really cross-browser compatible. At all. Unless MS explicitly wrote code supporting Firefox/Opera, it probably doesn't.

Re:One thing comes to mind.... (3, Funny)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765047)

"A lot of users need to be at Internet Explorer (IE) 5.5 or above or equivalent to take advantage of these features."

So I can take advantage of these features if I have my blind, crippled pet monkey read out the raw HTML to me while I poke toothpicks into my eyeballs then?

Re:One thing comes to mind.... (2, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764999)

..... How tied is this to IE, or by some miracle will it behave exactly the same under other browsers (Firefox, Opera, etc.)?

If you remember GMail, when it was first released, didn't have very good support for other browsers but over time they worked on support for them.

So, even if this *Beta* doesn't have support and the first public release doesn't either, it doesn't mean that in the future they won't.

I'm not holding my breath though.

smtp & pop3 & XGB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764757)

it support smtp, pop3, or have multiple gigabyte storage??, if not.. i'm not interested.

Re:smtp & pop3 & XGB? (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764782)

R. T. FUCKING. A.

Re:smtp & pop3 & XGB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764942)

....the article, let's see. hotmail don't support smtp, pop3 and don't have multiple gb storage, gmail has it, and a number of free alternatives also offer it, how can microsoft even try to compete without offering the very basics? why talking about support for mail protocols is not related with the article?, or do you want to reduce the discussion to the look & feel, or how tightly coupled is with outlook.

Re:smtp & pop3 & XGB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13765052)

You must be fucking blind. It's the second sentence of the second paragraph...

Love the 'analysis' (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764762)

TFA writes: Kahuna is a huge improvement over Hotmail [...] and GMail, the Google-owned service with which it is clearly competing.

Wow, I have no idea where he pulled the "huge improvement over GMail" from. This HotMailEx just seems to be GMail with an annoying entry portal page that keeps you from your mail.

Unless he was talking about how great it is to have a right click menu. Wow, yeah, that's big.

Plus it will likely be IE only... (3, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764845)

.. and all Firefox users will get dumped into the old clunky interface.

Nevermind the fact that Google have proven it is trivial to make a useable dynamic interface work in most major browsers.

'Beta' (1)

GCHQAgent (561731) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764765)

It seems like every online service these days is advertising 'beta' status by stamping it in capital letters right by its logo. Why do these companies feel the need to put their beta logo in the same exact place that Google choose to place it in GMail?

Review not preview. (0)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764767)

Its a review of a preview.

How dissapointing.

I expect it will be as slow and irritating to use as Outlook Web Access. (webmail plugin for exchange)

Goowy (1)

NoInfo (247461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764773)

It looks nice.

Still, by far the nicest looking web-mail interface I've seen is:
http://www.goowy.com/ [goowy.com]

Re:Goowy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764924)

Gah! Flash based and requires JavaScript. Even if it looks nice (I didn't get that far), I'll pass. Thank you.

Re:Goowy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13765057)

Agreed. Marketing to a crowd that still uses Pine and POP3 is probably pointless. I'm still amazed at how many Slashdotters still use POP3. I'll agree Flash sucks more than POP3, but why use either to check your e-mail? I disagree that Javascript is evil. AJAX is cool.

Re:Goowy (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765027)

Well with Linux and Firefox you see just the graphics, all the text is not visible!
but yeah, nice graphics ...

Looks like Outlook Express!! (1)

paulwallen (825524) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764775)

I hope it won't behave like "Outlook Express". My long lost friend.

SPAM... (3, Funny)

vchoy (134429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764776)

...never looked sooo good.

Re:SPAM... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765015)

...never looked sooo good.

Especially when top-posted and sent in quoted-printable, format-flowed, yada-yada format with an advertising footer.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764783)

Interface is nice, but man could those banners be any larger. Is Microsoft hard up for money or something.

Impressive (1)

alecks (473298) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764789)

Despite everything, it looks quite impressive... almost as good as OWA2003, which is saying a lot.

Dollar to donuts... (1)

jferris (908786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764794)

http://www.winsupersite.com/images/reviews/mail_be ta_preview_01.jpg [winsupersite.com]

Read the "Right Click Triumph" paragraph in the above screenshot. That just reeks of the following disclaimer:

Available only on Microsoft Operating Systems through any Web Browser named Internet Explorer.

No... (5, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764886)

Edit | Preferences | Web Features, click on the Javascript Advanced button, and tick "Disable or replace context menus".

Firefox has this feature, it's just disabled by default because it's almost universally used to disable right clicking on pages by people scared that their visitors might save images from their website.

Re:Dollar to donuts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764926)

You can do it in moz based browsers too. Thankfully galeon atleast (yup, there are a few of us left) has an option to switch it off, which is most welcome. (I know of another app where the ability has been "availed of".) uugghh. Don't mess with my User Interface you f**kers!

Can it do "Conversation Threads" (1)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764798)

Like in gmail? That is a huge plas and keeps my inbox much cleaner. The MSN looks nice... but still doesn't have what I want/need.

A validation of biodiversity and competition (2, Insightful)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764801)

I see this as a validation of biodiversity and competition. Microsoft( or yahoo ) never would have spiffed up their web mail interfaces without pressure from competition.

Re:A validation of biodiversity and competition (3, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764937)

" I see this as a validation of biodiversity and competition"

Biodiversity? So, MS really is the Borg, or does Kahuna have organic components?

Technodiversity. Product diversity. Definitely (hopefully) not biodiversity.

Re:A validation of biodiversity and competition (1)

richhall23 (893355) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765017)

Biodiversity? This just ordinary economic competition. this is economics not ecology.

Looks Fine To Me (5, Insightful)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764805)

I have a Gmail account and use it on occassion when I don't want to use my normal POP3 account. I like some things about Gmail and don't like others. Frankly, I think the comments people post about how Gmail, Yahoo mail, etc are kind of pointless, since people will just use whatever interface they prefer. I'll stick with Gmail since I use webmail so infrequently it makes no sense to change to something else right now.

Based on the screenshots, it looks like MS has done some pretty cool stuff with this interface. I didn't spend time reading the article, but it seems like some of the features would be hard to implement perfectly across many different browsers (drag-drop support, right-click support). However, if people want to use Firefox or Opera, they have Gmail as an option for web mail.

MS isn't forcing this service on anybody, and I'm not sure if there's any way they could. So, it's a good thing then. It's got some interesting features that the other webmail services don't have, and as such it's fostering competition. Slashdotters like to talk about having choices... well, this is just one more choice to choose from.

If you don't like it, don't use it.

Re:Looks Fine To Me (1)

Chi-RAV (541181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764902)

Looks can be deceiving. Try IBMs Lotus Domino with the iNotes plugin. It has all that is claimed here, drag-and-drop support, right click menus, annoying welcome pages etc. It even all works on multiple browsers (IE and FF is what I tested but opera is supposed to have support too). but its a HORRIBLE client. its slow and just shite... The thing most useful to a webmail interface is POP3 or IMAP support (so you can have your mail both online AND offline, instead of one of the two). also, folders outlived their expiry date. labels are the future... (for better or worse)

Re:Looks Fine To Me (1)

British (51765) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764990)

What bugs the crap out of me is GMail at work. It for some reason hangs(on the red "loading" label) when I choose certain emails(like ones in my spam folder), or try to set up new rules. Why would it do this at work, but not at home? I thought it was through port 80 all the way.

Best feature (5, Funny)

mykdavies (1369) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764815)

In light of the previous thread about annoying adverts, I particularly like the feature where you can't actually see the body of the email because there are too many adverts on the page (eg see http://www.winsupersite.com/images/reviews/mail_be ta_preview_05.jpg [winsupersite.com] )

Look! It's Hula! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764818)

Hehe, Come on MS, at least pick a name that isn't close to something used in Hawaii like Hula. I mean "Kahuna"? Can we copy a little more?

OMFG!!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764822)

They call this innovation???? This is simply more of Microsoft's "embrace and extend" predatory practices. They have ripped off Google and Yahoo and are now going to take over the internet by ruining the free email service market by flooding it with this better free service. Write your congressman! Don't let them get away with this again! Save the world's free email services!

YHBT HAND

Dear Mr Microsoft (5, Informative)

Dam's (921393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764828)

Want to make a good webmail ?

then :
- no ads every two pixels
- having servers not slow as hell
- having the possibility to send attachements not seen at virus everytime !!
- stop sending your fucking newsletter that I don't want to see !! (or make it blockable !!)
- more space ?

Re:Dear Mr Microsoft (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764976)

- having servers not slow as hell

AJAX actually helps with this.

For instance, when moving an email from your inbox to another folder, traditional webmail has to submit the change, and have the server perform the operation, generate a whole new page (i.e. recalculate the inbox display), and send it back to the browser.

AJAX webmail simply submits the change, removes the email from the current page with client-side Javascript, and updates the inbox with the single email that appears at the bottom (assuming your inbox is larger than a single screen). It's less work for the server.

The tradeoff is the extra Javascript needed, but since that can be cached and is a static file that doesn't generate any database traffic anyway, it's still almost certainly a net win compareed with regenerating everybody's inbox pages all the time.

Re:Dear Mr Microsoft (1)

dan the person (93490) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765000)

- stop sending your fucking newsletter that I don't want to see !! (or make it blockable !!)

i just added them to my ignore list. Fixed the newletter problem.

Re:Dear Mr Microsoft (1)

hottoh (540941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765016)

You can block the effing hotmail staff emails:

From the inbox select:
-Options
-Custom Filters
-New Filter
-Identify Incoming Messages Which: [offending address here]@hotmail.com, Deliver These Messages to the Following Folder: Delete These Messages
-Check box for the new filter, and live happily ever after.

Get rid of blue & white scheme (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764832)

I don't like the monotonous shading, how about a black inbox with green letters?

Re:Get rid of blue & white scheme (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764859)

How the hell do you get monotonous shading? :-P

alternative browsers (1)

Keruo (771880) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764838)

What I'd like to see is, how that thing works with Firefox and Opera.

Re:alternative browsers (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764968)

" What I'd like to see is, how that thing works with Firefox and Opera."

Yes, I'd like to be able to see things that don't exist, too.

Kahuna only works with IE browsers.

The Big Kahuna is a wipeout.

Outlook Web Access 2003 (1)

Coward the Anonymous (584745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764842)

This looks like OWA included with Exchange 2003, but with ads. I'm sure it's virtually the same code.

Oh the Irony (5, Interesting)

caseih (160668) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764848)

This next-generation kahuna interface makes extensive use of CSS, something IE totally sucks at. I would be interested to hear what the developers have to say about using CSS and these other technologies in IE and compared to Firefox. Pretty much every major web development house I know of develops on Firefox first, then hacks in the crap needed to make it run on IE. MS's team would obviously do it in reverse. I'd love to hear their comments on browser standards and IE 7's compliance with the standards that make this type of web application possible.

Re:Oh the Irony (1)

dascandy (869781) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765068)

Are you sure they develop on IE? There's nobody watching that directly....

Big Big Graphic Ads (5, Insightful)

McLuke (603959) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764850)

And how long will it take for MSN to change those 'Mail Beta Tip #x' graphics into obnoxious flash ads? My guess: one week after it exits beta.

System Requirements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13764858)

Do I need a new monitor to use it?

people still use Hotmail? (1)

amrust (686727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764873)

I thought Hotmail went out back in 2002, or so. Too many ads, slow as hell.

GMail serves this purpose now, anyway.

And I, for one, welcome our new GMail overlords.

AJAX taking over the planet? (1)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764876)

It seems that AJAX, while being a rather old idea, has taken over all new webapps these days. From Gmail to the Hula Project [hula-project.org] to the fantastic looking Zimbra Collaboration Suite [zimbra.com] , this reduced reliance on the old client => server model is a great step. I found more info on Kahuna beta [techcrunch.com] from someone who wrote about it back in August.

Now that I'm playing with Ruby on Rails [rubyonrails.org] I'll be very interested in the next 'killer app'; a Ruby on Rails/AJAX based webapp client. ...drool...

Doesn't i have free POP3? Doesn't look it... (3, Interesting)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764881)

No free POP3 access? Then I don't care. And (not to sound like a billboard) if I'm going to pay X a year for an email address, I'd much rather pay about the same to godaddy for a domain and email account in which I have an entire domain at my disposal.

how do you get in? (1)

brenddie (897982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764885)

mail.start.com redirects to the regular hotmail once yo sign in
do you need a new account to get in?

http://login.passport.net/uilogin.srf?lc=1033&id=6 4855 [passport.net]
Welcome to Mail Beta!

We hope you will enjoy the simpler and more intuitive design, expanded message storage, and automatically saved sent e-mail messages.

Since Mail Beta is being built from the ground up with new technology, we encourage you to use all the features. Tell us what you like as well as what you think is missing or needs improvement. Please don't hold back. We need and value your input. Thank you for your participation!

Interface concerns anyone ? (2, Interesting)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764931)

I think that the "messages" column, combined with the folders column (Inbox,...) eats too much width.

Oh, and the cancel button is too close to "attach" drop-down in the compose mode. Especially in the compose mode : now you've written a long message and want to attach some file... oops !

Also I hope (naively ?) that those big banners on the top and left are only in the beta version.

About the name (mail^beta) : Does that mean that MS trademarked the "mail" word ? Are they voluntarily mimicking Google (sorry, "innovating" :) ) by the use of that "beta" ? :)

Speed is everything! (2, Insightful)

TarrySingh (916400) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764935)

It's saddening to see that the massive overhead of a big firm makes it so difficult to come up with a quick response. We're living in a fast world and while Google has the lightweight advantage over biggies like MS. The comment about things being rolled out in phases explains that they have too much on their plate and no wonders all the disgruntled developers are whining all over the net and walking away as well. I'm not sure when kahuna will be out. I've moved over to Gmail long ago (like many many others)...

giant full-color ad banners and bloated interface (4, Interesting)

Hollins (83264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764940)

All the screen-shots show a cluttered interface with giant, full-colored banners at the top and right side. Currently, the banners feature links to provide feedback for Hotmail beta. However, they're complete with cheesy stock photos of happy office people, so you get a good idea of how this app will look when MS starts selling this real estate for flash-based ads.

I switched to gmail a few months ago and it's taken me awhile to adjust to their tag and search paradigm. However, once I got over the illusion of control that comes from tediously sorting mail into folders and learned to rely on search for finding old messages, I became amazed by how much time I used to spend on administrative overhead for emailt. I find myself tagging fewer and fewer messages now. I just dump them into the archive, and seldom have more than five messages in my inbox. Finding old stuff with couple of search terms works beautifully, and replies I receive for ongoing conversations cause the entire conversation to re-appear in the inbox. It works very, very well. I read and respond to email faster as a result, also.

My biggest gripes with GMail is their poor contact management, but it's been worth the hassle. Also, they've yet to implement a couple of fundamental capabilities, like adding a 'mark as read' action to filters.

This way of dealing with email was hard to get used to, but turned out to be very liberating.

Switch? (5, Funny)

milimetric (840694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764948)

"On the other hand, it's still early in Kahuna's development, and I don't recommend that anyone switch their production email account over to this service quite yet"

Hahaha, yeah right, if I have ANY alternatives to the HORRIBLE webmail interface that hotmail is right now, I'll take it, even if it's worse. You know why? Cause it can't get any worse, it can only wrap around and become better.

Anyone still use hotmail? (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764952)

Ugh, I only have a hotmail account in order use MSN.. They changed their policies so that if you didn't log in for 45 days all your old mail got deleted. Wonderful. And being so stingy over two megabytes of disk space. Heh.

YAH! (2, Interesting)

michaelzhao (801080) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764961)

More disposable spam accounts!

But seriously, the new release of MSN Hotmail is meant to compete with Google's Gmail. It probably won't succeed either. The reason? Branding. Hotmail is already known as a cheap e-mail account with little storage space and restrictive rules of how often you must check your e-mail. With lack of archiving features and searchable features in the current Hotmail, many people have a bad taste.

Microsoft may try to make a new Hotmail, but the corporate branding simple isn't there. My prediction is that they will launch into an expensive advertisment campaign to push Hotmail or even force users to use Hotmail more than they do now by integrating Hotmail with other Microsoft software.

whats the fuss? (1)

tuggy (694581) | more than 8 years ago | (#13764981)

ok, its not because this is M$ or something, but what exactly is the fuss around those screenshots?
doesnt seem to have anything really new and innovative (go figure).
And that 3 column message-view will definetly suck...

I Got In! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13765007)

http://by107w.bay107.mail.start.com/mail/mail.aspx [start.com]

Looks neat, and I love the new Clippy too he's actually helpful this time!

Looks descent too bad... (1)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765020)

They'll probably flood it with advertising so badly it'll look at cluttered and unusable as the current hotmail. Good thing I only use it for junk mail anyway.

Massaging the message (1)

FishandChips (695645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765037)

Looks very promising. Hmmn, Hawaiian week at MS, then. I hope that Microsoft end up making an extremely good email client from Kahuna. It's not in anyone's interest for it to be a poor client. If Kahuna is good then the competition - Google, Yahoo, etc. - will be obliged to up their game. I guess an important question will be whether these new-generation clients are easy to use in Internet cafes and other public access sites, which often have dubious screens, crappy mice and clunky machines. They won't be so helpful if their devs assume users will have top-line gear on a good display at home.

Dial-up? (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765054)

I'm curious if AJAX sites work well over dial-up or dsl connections at the margins of the service area. Lots of developers have broadband connections and may not take into account what the experience is like for people who are still stuck on slow connections. Google Maps obviously won't fly and nobody would expect it to. But what's gmail like over broadband?

Is there some utility that can clamp your broadband connection so you can test your work as if you were using it from a slow connection?

I use Excel quite a bit and was startled at how upgrading to a Raptor drive from a regular ide drive made such a huge difference when saving my work. Saves that took as long as 14 seconds on the old drive went through in 1-2 seconds. It made me wonder if the Excel developers were all decked out with the latest and greatest hardware and didn't have a clue as to how their code behaved on machines most of their customers would use.

Re:Dial-up? (1)

Darkness Productions (143908) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765069)

Bittorrent?

Old wine in new bottle. (1)

managedcode (863136) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765056)

Eyewash ?

Looking more like what? (1)

Monkeyman334 (205694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765067)

Most interesting is how the user interface more closely resembles a traditional local application. It's definitely a big step in that direction.

Coincidentally a step in the direction of their other webmail offering: exchange server/outlook webmail [wpi.edu] .

another sore for Microsoft (1)

xutopia (469129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13765088)

Microsoft is showing the world that you can have powerful applications in a browser. With all the talks about a webicized office suite which they are scared of this only shows that soon enough we'll have such a thing. MS is between a rock and a hard plate. They can't go on stiffling innovation on the web side of things and whenever they show off web technology it makes people realize more and more that they shouldn't be tied down to their OS.
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