Windows Live Mail Desktop to include contextual ads
Windows Live Mail Desktop, the confusingly-named Microsoft app that will let you access e-mail from multiple sources including Hotmail, Gmail, and AOL, is getting contextual (targeted) advertising, according to ClickZ. The program, which is still in closed beta, utilizes integration with Microsoft's Active Search to display ads based on the content of your e-mail messages, much like similar ad model in Gmail that caused (and continues to cause) some controversey. Unlike in Gmail, Active Search actually displays search results from Windows Live Search relevant to the message you're reading, the top two of which are sponsored links. Privacy implications aside (I give Google the benefit of the doubt--I'm willing to do the same for Microsoft on a trial basis), having targeted search results next to my e-mails sounds useless to me, but maybe some users will disagree. You can turn off Active Search and the ads are replaced by standard non-targeted display ads, but I'm not sure which would be less obnoxious. For more about the feature, head over to the Windows Live Mail Desktop official blog.