Updated: Office Live Workspace, Hotmail, Windows Live Translator

While none of the updates are in the “mind-blowing” category, three Live services have announce updates this week.  First up, Office Live:

We have good news

We have taken all of the findings and with the help of the Office and Windows teams come up with a solution that closely delivers on our primary goal – to make integration as seamless as possible.  We can now present to you a single package available as a single download, the “Office Live Update 1.1” which:

  • Installs the necessary performance updates so that we don’t make roundtrips, and makes the network stacks “smart” so they do the right thing for OLW

  • Installs the Windows Live Sign-in Assistant that ensures that logging into the browser essentially logs you in to Office, so you don’t get prompted again and again

  • Installs the new Office Live Add-in v1.1 which shows who you are logged in as right there in the menu flyout.

We have made this available in all our new international languages, too. Let us know how this works for you, as we are still working on further improvements. And, as always, we thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback because it really helps us get better.

Hotmail has been updated, too:

You can check out how snappy the classic version is when you try the following things:

  • Read messages in your inbox
  • Delete and move messages
  • Read messages in different folders
  • Check for new messages by clicking on your inbox or other folder

The classic version works the same, and looks the same, but now it is more like the full version, updating what you see on the screen without reloading the whole page.

In future releases, you’ll see more about how we’re making the classic version faster and also adding features to it.

The classic version works for a huge range of browsers: Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox 2.0+, Safari 2.0+, and other modern browsers.

Pulling in messages from other accounts

If you’re a paid user, we’re making it easier for you to add a non-Hotmail account! Paid users will see a link in their inbox that says “Add an e-mail account.” If you click that link, we make it easy to pull in messages from your other accounts outside of Hotmail. You can add a POP3 account this way. This feature has been in MSN Hotmail and Windows Live Hotmail for years, but now we’re able to automatically set up many POP3 accounts even if you don’t know your POP server settings.

And improvements to Windows Live Translator, as well:

English to Spanish general domain system deployed on live site

Our team is constantly working to improve our translation quality. As you know, some of our general domain systems are powered by third party systems, while we develop our own technology for these languages. This month we rolled out our own English to Spanish general domain system, which significantly beat our quality bar. Spanish is our highest traffic language, so we’re really excited about improving this system for our Spanish users.  Check it out!

Link to Encarta dictionary

Have a word that may have multiple translations in another language? Take the example of “boot” – this could mean a shoe, or a verb talking about starting up your computer. The Encarta dictionary allows you to look up a word and short phrase and offer you multiple translations. In addition to the different variations of “boot” in Spanish around the globe, it also offers an alphabetical list of similar words to help you pick out which version you meant.

Star rating

Translation quality varies widely depending on the content being translated, and the training data we have used to train our engine. Help us improve the system by letting us know where we are doing well, and where we need improvement, by rating our translations. This will help us learn where we need to focus on improvements. This feature is located just below the translated text on the left.

Report offensive translations

Machine translation is an imperfect process – and it doesn’t always catch inadvertently offensive translations! Help us improve the system by reporting any offensive translations that you see.

You can read more about the updates by following the links.