Interview with the Windows Live Mail desktop team

I got a chance to talk with the Windows Live Mail desktop team earlier this week and ask them a few questions about this week's refresh.  So, I won't hold this up any longer, let's jump right into it! 
 
LiveSide: Black
Windows Live Mail desktop Team: Red
 

First off, who are you all and what
do you do?

Gail
Giacobbe
– Lead Program
Manager for Windows Live Mail desktop

Cory
Toedebusch
– Product Manager for Windows Live Mail desktop

Tanja
Fournier
– Customer Connection Program Manager

 
What's new in this
release?

We
worked hard to both refine the current features and add new ones in reaction to
user feedback.  In light of that, we’ve fixed over 1,000 known issues, added
Blog button to easily post emails to your Windows Live Space, improved our virus
scanning capabilities, added some personalization features like folder colors,
enabled Photo mail in POP accounts, built-in contact merge capabilities to catch
duplicate import of contacts, enabled Automatic Update so users can be sure they
have the latest build, and made some performance improvements.  We believe users
will have an improved experience over our last build.

 
The new build
contains a "Blog to Spaces" button.  Will this simply take you to your space or
load Windows Live Writer if you have it
installed?

Blog
to Spaces loads the email contents into the Windows Live Spaces blog editor.  It
does not load Windows Live Writer.  

Currently, in
Messenger, the Mail button forces WLMD to open.  Will you be able to configure
this differently?

This
is a great suggestion!  At this time, there is no way to configure this
differently, but feel free to send feature suggestions like this to the WLMd
team through our link on http://feedback.live.com.  We are always
interested in hearing what our customers have to say.

Is Active Search
different to Google's approach with AdSense in Gmail?  If so,
how?

Active
Search is different from Google’s approach with Adsense. Active Search was
conceived from the start as more than an advertising medium. The goal was to
bridge the two foremost activities on the internet – email and the web in a way
that is controlled by the user and respects their privacy. Active Search brings
you the content on the web based on content in your email, effortlessly. We make
it really easy to consume this content and to find out more information about
interesting content in your email.

1.      
Search based on our suggestions: just click on any of the extracted keywords
(transparently displayed and hyperlinked) to change the search results (and ads)

2.      
Issue your own searches: scratch that itch without leaving your mail client. If
you need to see more information, ‘more results’ takes you there fast in a full
browser window.

3.      
User choice: customers can opt out of Active Search at any
time.

 

We’ve
tried hard to put the user at the center of the Active Search experience in a
way that Google has not found necessary to do.

 


How will end users
know that their privacy is not being compromised when Active Search scans for
keywords in their emails?

We’re
very sensitive to any user trust issues in the development of our products. In
the case of Active Search we have built in protections for our
customers:

1.      
Attachments are not scanned at all. Neither are email headers.

2.      
We do not extract numeric data that can be used to identify you, like social
security #s.

3.      
We do not store or record extracted keywords, we simply issue searches based on
them through a standard API

4.      
No personally identifiable information from your login to WLMD is shared as part
of Active Search operation.

5.     
When you turn Active Search OFF based on your user choice, it’s truly off. No
extraction is done anymore.

 

Understanding
that users deserved validation of these statements, we engaged an external
auditor (Jefferson Wells) to verify the claims.
You can find their audit report here: http://www.jeffersonwells.com/Client_Audit_Reports/ActiveSearch_Privacy_Assessment.pdf

 

 Will WL Mail Desktop
be getting a Today page like its online
counterpart?

We
are always looking at ways to improve the customer experience; however, there
are currently no immediate plans to add a Today page to Windows Live Mail
desktop.

 

 Now that everyone can
access their Hotmail or Windows Live Mail account on their computer, what's the
benefit for Premium subscribers beyond no ads?  Hotmail Plus does the same thing
for a fraction of the price.

WLMd
is focused on offering email and communication services.  MSN Premium offers a
host of additional features beyond email, including MSN Encarta Plus, MSN Money
Plus, Firewall and Virus Guard, MSN Member Center, and dedicated technical
support.  For a full list of features and descriptions, please go to the MSN
Premium page here.

 
Here's the question of the day: Is it WLMD or WLMC? 
We have heard that the real name of Windows Live Mail Desktop is Windows Live
Mail Center.  In the past, your team has sort of backed down from actually
commenting on the name change.  What will the name be?  Just for a point of
reference, the fact that the
actual download link is http://g.live.com/1rebeta/WLMC_EN

This
is the million dollar question! [:)]
  The
product name is Windows Live Mail desktop.

 

So, the naming debate has been settled for good.  The official name is Windows Live Mail desktop with a lowercase "d".  I hope that you enjoyed getting a little look into Microsoft's take on this release in the interview. 

 

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