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Microsoft's Hotmail Active Views -- a vetted interactive email solution

Email as we know it is a fairly static beast; you get text, and maybe some links and images, but that's about it. After all, allowing email to run code within your email client or browser could be mighty risky.

On the other hand, there's lots to be gained by "interactive email." Imagine receiving a form, which you can fill-in right from within an email message; or getting a search widget that you can use right from within the message to get the exact content you're interested in.

That's what Microsoft's new Active Views for Hotmail tries to do. Microsoft has taken a bunch of enterprise partners, starting with Orbitz and, and allowed them to run code right from within your email. Since the partners (and email content) are carefully vetted by Microsoft, potential security concerns are kept to a minimum allowing users to enjoy the power of interactive forms and search widgets without the danger of hidden malicious code.

As the platform grows, more and more enterprises will be able to send interactive email. However, being a Hotmail-only prospect (at least for now), and since it's mainly useful for large advertisers, it is uncertain whether Interactive Views will gain much traction. Still, it's an interesting experiment. Just in case you're still at a loss as to what Active Views actually is, Microsoft's kindly made a video explaining the whole thing, which we've included after the break.

Tags: business, email, hotmail, microsoft, productivity, Web