Windows Live Mail Inches Closer to Public Beta

Microsoft's big "Kahuna" hits Milestone 4; Spam-blocking, phishing detection, and faster search are part of the latest update. (Microsoft Watch)

Program Manager Imran Qureshi announced this week on the Windows Live Mail blog the release of the Milestone 4 update to Hotmails successor, code-named Kahuna.

The latest update of what is now known officially as "Windows Live Mail" boasts a slew of features, with a focus on spam-blocking, phishing detection, "spell check as you go" and a faster message-body search functionality.

"We call this M4. In the early phases, we were very much working on the core e-mail experience. We are now pleased with it and able to add more and more enhanced capabilities," Brooke Richardson, lead product manager of Microsoft Corp.s MSN, told Microsoft Watch.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Microsofts essay into push e-mail.

"Beta tester feedback re-jiggered our product plans," Richardson added. "A lot of the focus in this latest release—adding speed, more safety capabilities, and more high-end features to improve the in-box experience—has been in response to what customers say they want."

Early reviews of Windows Live Mail were positive, noting that it works like a desk-top mail application with a familiar three-box interface, and lets users drag and drop messages to another folder, and right-clicking brings up a pop-up menu of mail options.

"The use of AJAX makes [Windows Live Mail] feel more like a desktop application," Senior Jupiter Research Analyst Joe Wilcox told Microsoft Watch.

However, some reviewers criticized the product for a lack of automatic mail-checking, inability to view multiple messages simultaneously, and only working with Internet Explorer. With the M4 release, Microsoft seems to have responded to some of these concerns, as the new version supports Firefox, Netscape and Opera browsers, and all panes are resizable.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead the full story on Microsoft Watch: Windows Live Mail Inches Closer to Public Beta

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.