Microsoft has been trying to keep up with Google and Yahoo, so now the Beta of Windows Live Mail is up, and I was lucky enough to get an invite for the service.
Windows Live Mail seemed too simple and the design is just ugly, it’s a white background and the text is blue or black.
It doesn’t work on FireFox (not that I’m surprised by this… it’s Microsoft’s after all, though I expect FireFox support to come soon), not even the invite button, so I had to use the ol’ Internet Explorer to sign up for the service. If you try to load up http://mail.live.com in FireFox it just redirects you to the old MSN Hotmail service, and even though it’s just a private beta, users shouldn’t be forced to use Internet Explorer to check their emails.
The service itself proved to have a decent speed, mainly because it now uses AJAX, instead of reloading the page, but some features like the calendar took a long time to load (maybe longer than reloading a page in the old MSN Hotmail), so speed could still be improved.
It also looks like Microsoft has put some thought on the UI, and I liked the fact that I can move to other emails without needing to go back to the inbox, since the inbox is visible all the time while reading emails.
Another feature I like is the resizable columns, which allow further customization of the UI.
Still, Windows Mail Live needs some work done; mainly the browser support and a better UI, the old ugly buttons of MSN Hotmail are still being used.
It won’t replace my Gmail account, because Windows Live Mail lacks some features I like about Gmail: labels, live search, and the ability to customize the UI the way I want with Greasemonkey Scripts.