Microsoft has released a new Beta (opens in new tab) of its Microsoft Office Outlook Connector (opens in new tab) . The application integrates Windows Live Hotmail access into Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 and features new Microsoft technology.
Microsoft has previously dabbled with Hotmail access through Outlook, a feature it wanted to make a paid service at one point. However, with Microsoft's change of direction to provide more web services, the corporation has decided to prepare a connector application for its two most recent Outlook iterations.
The add-on not only handles mail, but will also sync contacts between your Outlook and Windows Live. This includes the contacts you have on Windows Live Messenger.
Installing the Hotmail connector won't affect any of your other email accounts, says Jared Brown, an Outlook Connector program manager. He was talking on the Windows Vista Blog . "You'll essentially have two folders for each module. One will sync; one won't - just like you'll have two email Inboxes," Brown explains.
Microsoft (opens in new tab) has also used new technology in the latest connector to improve performance. It uses DeltaSync, a new protocol for syncing up with web services also used in Windows Live Mail. Previous versions of the Outlook Connector employed DAV technology to sync email. However, Brown explains on the blog that this proved to be expensive and not efficient enough when considering Hotmail's large user base.
"DeltaSync was created to boost efficiency and finally let us create a version of the connector that we can release for free," Brown says.
Paid subscribers of MSN Premium, Office Live Essentials, or Office Live Premium will also be able to sync up their calendar, tasks and notes from Outlook to Windows Live Hotmail.