Rebuilding Hotmail from scratch

Richard Sim, Senior Product Manager for Windows Live Hotmail posts an interesting and comprehensive list of what the Hotmail team has accomplished since starting the project almost two and a half years ago. As he says, “(t)he UI and features that are visible to end users only scratch the surface of what we’ve done”.  Sim’s list:

  • rearchitected the entire service from scratch,
  • swapped out the backend storage infrastructure (literally swapping out old boxes for new ones)
  • instrumented user actions,
  • created new ways to serve advertisements,
  • developed new advertising products,
  • created a scalable and flexible mail platform to power email for universities and other partners,
  • managed a large scale beta process with a continuous user feedback loop,
  • redesigned our product development and deployment processes,
  • streamlined our signup flows,
  • opened up Outlook client access for ALL free users (coming very soon),
  • created a Windows Live Contacts (subscribe to contact updates) service,
  • created a new selection paradigm for email client applications (dynamic checkboxes) which has been eventually adopted by Yahoo Mail Beta,  
  • and released a new safety bar to educate users about the context of every mail that arrives in his/her inbox

“Oh, and of course, rewrote the entire UI and released dozens of great features.”