Microsoft announced added support for its "Active View" functionality in Hotmail, for LinkedIn, Netflix, Posterous, and LivingSocial.
In a nutshell, this means you can now interact with each of these services as if you were on their respective sites, without leaving the inbox. Pretty nifty.
"First, we focused on popular types of emails with photos, videos, documents, and shipping notifications (e.g. YouTube, Hulu, Flickr, FedEx) and how we could make common actions easier," said Hotmail Group Program Manager Dick Craddock. "For those messages, we fetch the important content from other websites and let you engage with it in an Active View that appears at the top of the message. This lets us take an email with a text URL for a shared video, and instead of just showing dull text, let you watch the video without having to leave your inbox."
"Now that we have a great experience for common attachments and links, we're taking the next steps with invitations, updates, ratings, and deals," he added. "More and more services use email to let their members or customers know when something has happened, and most of these messages have a simple response – accept the invitation, comment on the photo, rate the movie. Now those actions happen right in your inbox, saving clicks and time, thanks to the work of partners like LinkedIn, Posterous, LivingSocial, and Netflix. Here are some more before and after pictures of the Active Views platform at work."
It's always good to see new and interesting things happening in email, while some carry on with this notion that this medium is somehow dying by the hands of social media.