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10/10/2005
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Microsoft Opens Hotmail Kahuna Beta

Kahuna will be the new user interface for Hotmail, with a look, Microsoft has promised, that more closely resembles Outlook. The beta's now expanded to the public.

Microsoft on Monday expanded the beta test program for its revamped Hotmail service, code named "Kahuna," to the general public.

Kahuna will be the new user interface for Hotmail, with a look, Microsoft has promised, that more closely resembles Outlook, the offline e-mail client from Microsoft. The interface will also be more responsive than the current Hotmail, since it will display new information -- a preview of a message -- without accessing the Hotmail servers to redraw the screen.

Microsoft's calling this version "Mail Beta" and is making the preview available to current Hotmail users, who can register for the beta on an MSN site. Approximately 200,000 users will be accepted into the beta test.

Kahuna is Microsoft's answer to Yahoo Mail's redesign, which is also currently in beta test, and also will produce a new, faster version of its Web-based mail service. Like the new Yahoo Mail, Kahuna uses a variety of technologies, including AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), to create its new look and feel.

Kahuna, which works under the marketing slogan of "Faster. Simpler. Safer" has a secondary phrase used by its development team of "Pimp My Mail," said Hotmail program manager Imran Qureshi on his blog. Qureshi has posted a screenshot of Kahuna in action here.

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