As Piero mentioned in his blog post, we had two main goals when building the newest version of Windows Live: making everyday tasks simpler, and connecting Windows 7 to the cloud. In the new Windows Live Mail beta, we did a lot of work to make these goals a reality, and today I’d like to give you a quick tour of some of the high points.

Making it easy to share photos via the cloud

Given all of the talk about sharing on the web, you might be surprised to hear that fully half of all content sharing is done through email. Attaching photos to an email message is convenient, but it actually isn’t a great way to share because of limits on the number and size of email attachments. A lot of people try to deal with these limits by shrinking photos before mailing them out, or sending them in small, separate batches instead of all at the same time, but these are compromises that you shouldn’t have to make.

The new Windows Live Mail gives you a better option. Now, by simply dragging your photos into a message that you’re composing, you can create beautiful photo email messages like these:





There are a bunch of different album styles to choose from, so you can show your photos in a way that best reflects your style and personality.

But the Windows Live Mail beta doesn’t just give you beautiful albums; now, limits on photo size and attachments are yesterday’s news. When you send photos, a SkyDrive album is automatically created for you, and your photos are uploaded to the cloud. The people who receive your mail will then see the photos in the email, of course, but they'll also see them in Messenger, in the social highlights feed:



…and in Hotmail:



…and of course, when they click the images in any of these places, they can view your SkyDrive album from any computer or mobile phone that has Internet access. Your albums are privacy-protected, so only your friends who receive your mail can see your photos. All of this happens without any extra effort on your part – just drag your photos into your email, and Windows Live Mail takes care of the rest.

Windows Live Mail makes it simple to organize your mailbox

We also made big changes to make it quicker and more efficient to read your mail. The most obvious change is sitting at the top of the window. To make it quicker and easier to perform your everyday tasks, we identified the most frequently used commands, and put them front and center in the ribbon:



Next, we turned our attention to the inbox itself. Those of you who get a lot of email know it can be confusing to follow email conversations that extend over several days. In the traditional, sorted-by-date view of the inbox, it’s tough to quickly find and skim any but the most recent replies in an email conversation. In Windows Live Mail’s new conversation view, related messages are grouped together, which allows you to see all of the replies on a subject in one place:



I find that this makes reading and responding to my email much quicker and easier, but since some of you prefer the traditional inbox view, we made it easy to turn the conversation view on or off using the ribbon:



Simplifying your schedule too

Last but not least on our tour of the new Windows Live Mail: the calendar. I live my life by my calendar – if something’s not in there, it’s not happening, or at least I’m not going to be there. Our user data shows that this is true for a lot of you as well: 25% of Windows Live Mail users use the calendar to schedule events.

To help those of you who are addicted to your calendar, we added a calendar pane to the side of the inbox. The calendar pane shows you upcoming events, and provides a quick way for you to create new events without ever leaving your inbox:



Together, these changes help you to manage your email and calendar more quickly and efficiently, all in one place.

So, that’s the short tour of the new Windows Live Mail beta. We hope you enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed building it!

Stephen Hui
Lead Program Manager, Windows Live Mail




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