More information (and some speculation) about Hotmail

With the announced release of Windows Live Hotmail still rolling out, a bit more information has come out in the form of some blog posts from Hotmail team members. 

First, Steve Kafka goes more in depth into cleaning up your address book, with an explanation of “clean up duplicate contacts”

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Next, Omar Shahine reports on some impressive numbers for Windows Live Hotmail:

Today on Windows Live Hotmail we are hosting about 200 million accounts. The remainder of the users are still on the older MSN Hotmail Service. Over the next few months we expect that number to continue to climb as the remaining users start to use Windows Live Hotmail as their main service.

The scale of the site is also far greater. When I first started working on Hotmail back in 2004 we were working on building out our first cluster that would eventually support Windows Live Hotmail, and today the sheer number of machines running our code is mind numbing.

Omar also points to a(n apparently 3rd party) tool to make it easy to switch to Windows Live Hotmail from some other mail service:

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It’s also interesting to note that both Omar:

“There is one other surprise coming that I’ll blog about before the end of the month.”

and Dare Obasanjo:

“So far we’ve seen updates Spaces, SkyDrive, and now Mail within the past month. The summer of Windows Live is on here and so far it’s looking pretty good. I wonder what else Windows Live has up it’s sleeve?”

seem to be hinting pretty broadly of more to come within the next few weeks.  What could it be?  We know that at least three services (and surely more) are slated for beta releases soon: Windows Live Calendar, Windows Live Events, and the Gatineau analytics tool.  Of these, Calendar probably makes the most sense here, as it would replace the current MSN Calendar tab in Hotmail.

One interesting bit of (admittedly wild) speculation though is a Web Messenger sighting:

WindowClipping (6) this screenshot posted on Read/Write Web yesterday. Will Web Messenger/Hotmail integration be coming, similar to Yahoo Mail?