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Microsoft says Hotmail is now 10x faster

sunveer

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Google has just announced that Gmail is being redesigned to cut some of the clutter and make browsing your inbox a better experience. Microsoft on the other hand, has just announced that updates to the way Hotmail works has made it 10x faster.

That’s quite an impressive feat, but then you have to consider how slow Hotmail was to begin with. Hotmail users should be happy, though, as a 10x speed gain is not something that goes unnoticed, and should help with productivity. But how did Microsoft manage to find so much extra speed in a service that’s been online for 15 years?

Three techniques were used: caching, preloading, and asynchronous operations. These are not new concepts, but the recent update to web technologies in modern browsers has made them much easier to implement and more useful for web-based services such as Hotmail. It also goes without saying that when Microsoft talks about speed gains in a browser it is referring specifically to using Internet Explorer 9, although you will see a similar speed increase in other modern browsers.

hotmail_signin-580x343.jpg


The combination of those three technqiues means that Hotmail now uses local storage to cache data so you aren’t waiting for information to download from a server every time you click a link. That used to be the case when you opened a mail, clicked to create a new mail, as well as the many other common and regular actions you carry out in a mail client.

Opening new mails has benefitted the most from pre-loading. While you sit and scan the headings of any new mails you have received, Hotmail is busy in the background pre-loading and caching the data for each one locally. That in turn means almost instant loads when you decide to click and read one. Pre-loading is also used to speed up loading for writing a reply to a mail or starting to write a brand new message.

If you notice your general user interface navigation is super fast now, you have asycnhronous operations to thank for that speed gain. It removes the need for a Hotmail server to be involved in every action carried out. Clicking an option in the UI used to mean waiting for a server response, now it all happens in the background and doesn’t slow you down. That means things like deleting a mail or navigating between folders should be near instantaneous.

As for exactly how much difference these improvements offer to the overall experience, the video above should demonstrates that well enough, but if you want some concrete figures Microsoft provided the following breakdown:

hotmail_speedup.jpg


While a 10-fold speed gain is impressive, Microsoft believes it can do better and so updates will continue to roll out. If you have already noticed that Hotmail is faster you are going to be further impressed as Microsoft hasn’t turned on pre-loading yet, so an even faster experience is coming your way soon. If you want pre-loading on by default today, just open up your Hotmail options and turn it on manually.

More at The Windows Blog
 
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