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Hotmail introduces interactive email using Active Views

Hotmail and a few pilot partners have introduced interactive email using Active Views, as noted on their Windows Live blog. The blog post notes that the way current emails are sent, the content is static and links lead people outside of the email to a different environment.

The Windows Live Hotmail team notes that these things take too much time and make the email experience as a whole non-lineair, and they have devised a new way to handle things: Active Views. The post also notes that this new technology hasn’t been available before because of security concerns: however Active Views is supposed to let code be run securely inside an email, without you as a receiver having to be concerned about privacy or malicious access to your computer.

Forms and other interactive options like searching are available within the email itself, as shown in this video:

I cannot stress how important this development is for the future of email: the time saved, the possibilities it opens and the amount of pleasure and results gained will be great. From the start the pilot partners will be Monster.com and Orbitz: they will show what the new wave of email will look like when it comes to hotel bookings and job searches. Two other big names will join in soon: Netflix and LinkedIn, so the platform will already have a nice base to do the pilot run of this new technology within the Hotmail email client.

The ideas already start coming into my mind of how to apply this new technology: luckily Hotmail is one of the biggest email providers in the EU compared to GMail and others, so the actual userbase should not be a problem. IN 2009 the Hotmail market share worldwide was just over 16%, and in the EU that is an even bigger share, as Yahoo! Mail’s share is smaller.

(stats (c) Campaign Monitor)

Update 17 dec 2010 – 10:22 CET:

More info about the technology called Microsoft Web Sandbox used to allow Active Views to run securely within Hotmail can be found on this page.

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