Microsofts MSN business unit is trying to hook customers onto “Kahuna.” Kahuna is code name for an upcoming version of Hotmail that will sport a new style of interface, automatic inbox refreshing and a preview pane that will enable Hotmail users to read and respond to e-mail without ever leaving their inbox.
Microsoft Corp. has reason to be testing such additions: Many of these features are already out of testing and in production among its competitors.
According to sources familiar with the upgrade, Kahuna is a limited beta that is not heavy on features as of yet. Its interface is known internally as “Wave 11” and is designed to be lightweight and “clean” for better performance.
Further integration with MSN Spaces and Messenger is said to be forthcoming.
Very little emphasis will be cycled toward the calendar component of Hotmail in the initial phase.
Recognizing that it is behind in several key areas, Microsoft has engineered the next wave of Hotmail, allegedly referred to as the “competitive wave,” in a methodical push to meet or exceed the competition.