Hotmail Active Views–interactive email (for some)

While last week’s Reddit question and answer session was skewed heavily toward a desire for Microsoft to stick to standards (and leave all the social networking out), today’s announcement of Hotmail Active Views brings us another improvement to Hotmail that while it seems like a great idea, seems also to be proprietary and only available to a subset of email users (ones who use Hotmail from the web, and get email from certain of Microsoft’s partners).

A blog post on Inside Windows Live describes the new feature, which allows partners to make email “active”, so that a user could interact with the email directly from Hotmail:

(…) There has simply been no way to run JavaScript code within email messages in such a way that it’s isolated and not allowed to do malicious things on your computer. Hotmail is solving this problem with its new Active Views platform, technology that allows senders to run code securely in their email messages. It protects you AND gives you access to information on the sender’s website through forms and inline actions built directly into the email itself. This keeps the content up to date and provides a more engaging and time-saving experience.

Active Views is launching today with partnerships from Orbitz and, with additional partnerships with Netflix and LinkedIn coming soon.  Here’s a video of Active Views in action:


Coincidentally, we read an interesting post yesterday (thanks Omar!) ranting on a seemingly unrelated subject: OpenID.  A question appeared on Quora asking about OpenID, and commenter Yishan Wong took the opportunity to vent on his feelings about OpenID, and about software solutions to problems that don’t really exist to begin with:

It boggles my mind that this is apparently a big question for techies and, to me, is a perfect example of the Silicon Valley mindset that doesn’t understand how to build products that real people want to use.
The short answer is that OpenID is the worst possible “solution” I have ever seen in my entire life to a problem that most people don’t really have.  That’s what’s “wrong” with it

What do you think?  Are you excited to be able to get mail from Microsoft’s partners that you can interact with from within Hotmail?  Does this solve a problem for you?