Free Hotmail POP3 access now available and Hotmail updates

So now that we've all recovered from the CES 2009, everyone is back to business including the folks up in Redmond, WA. It has been confirmed that Microsoft has started rolling out another major update of Windows Live Hotmail, which includes POP access as discussed in my interview with Ryan Gavin and Dharmesh Mehta.

Last week we reported a rumour that Microsoft was about to offer POP3 access to Hotmail users at no extra charge.

Microsoft has confirmed the rumour via its Windows Live Wire blog today. POP3 access is now available to Hotmail users in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Microsoft plans to roll out POP3 access to more parts of the world later this year. You can find the settings below:

  • POP server: pop3.live.com
  • POP SSL required? Yes
  • User name: Your Windows Live ID, for example yourname@hotmail.com
  • Password: The password you usually use to sign in to Hotmail or Windows Live
  • SMTP server: smtp.live.com
  • Authentication required? Yes (this matches your POP username and password)
  • TLS/SSL required? Yes
Another new feature that is rolling out is "Quick Add". During Steve Ballmer's keynote, there was a short demo showing this new feature. So in case you missed the live stream, here we go.

Lets say that you're on vacation or a business trip and you just arrived to your destination. Your friends and family want to meet up later that night for dinner, but not everyone is familiar with the city. So you open Windows Live Hotmail and start preparing your e-mail with the time and place of your dinner affair, but you want to include the address and a link for directions. So you open up Quick Add while creating a new message (Screenshot).

Now you start your search for some nice restaurants for your affair. Once you've found your destination, you can either click "Insert" or "More Info". When you click "More Info" (Screenshot), you are brought to a Windows Live Search page. Once you've entered that page you will see a mapped location and some reviews if anyone has posted them. So now that you've picked your destination, you're ready to insert it into your e-mail by simply clicking "Insert" (Screenshot). So now you have the name, address, and more information ready for your friends and family.

That is only one scenario that this new feature will be able to do. Consumers will also be able to search for business listings, videos, and images. The beauty of QuickAdd is that it's automatically loaded when you open a New Message, located on the right side of the message pane.

Images courtesy of Jamie Thompson

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