Microsoft released its new Windows Live Mail Desktop (WLMD) to about 100 beta testers today. The idea behind WLMD is that some users may prefer having an offline, client-based experience in conjunction with their Web-based mail convenience.
Microsoft made available some screenshots which I thought I’d share (with their permission). I have not had the opportunity to see the product, but the screenshots give some insight into what’s different:
- POP/IMAP access: You’ll be able to receive any email account with POP/IMAP access. Even better, you’ll be able to segment each of those accounts into different groups, with different aliases. No more mixing up email accounts that get pooled into one client. The WLMD blog has an amusing dating example that explains why this might be important.
- Integrated RSS feeds: No need to use another client to see those feeds. I suspect that they will be synchronized with the feeds that appear on live.com.
- Advertising: Ads appear as a skyscraper ad on the right in the Inbox screenshot – note that it is Windows Live ad and NOT the MSN Messenger graphic, which is part of the actual email. It appears that there are no ads within the individual opened emails.
Overall, this is another good advancement in the Live.com suite of products that have been rapidly deployed by Microsoft. It taps into the company’s heritage of software but is grounded on the strong Web-based Live.com platform. What will be interesting to see is if non-Live.com users – like Yahoo! Mail or even Gmail -- start using this product to consolidate all of their different accounts. In my case, I have several personal email accounts that I use, and I’m constantly messing up which address I use to reply to which message!
And if you’re trying to keep track of all of Live.com’s new services, News.com has a handy-dandy reference chart.
Open message screenshot