Microsoft will replace Outlook Express with Live Mail Desktop in Windows Vista and will let you access POP3 and IMAP accounts, as well as your Windows Live Mail account, the Hotmail upgrade that includes 2GB of storage. Live Mail Desktop, currently in beta, will include contextual ads next to emails through a technology called Active Search. "Active Search bridges the gap between your inbox and the broader Web using the power of search," says Oji Udezue, program manager for Live Mail Desktop.
What's interesting is that this gap will be filled with ads from Microsoft adCenter. I think a desktop application is not the best way to include ads, even if they are contextual. Opera browser has included ads delivered by Google until version 8.5, and the users weren't very happy about that. Another interesting thing to note is that Google doesn't include ads in any desktop application, although it was the first to put contextual ads next to email in Gmail. At that time, many people were concerned that Google read emails in order to deliver the ads.
"Active Search displays key search terms found in a message along with a search box at the bottom of the screen. Search results and sponsored links are displayed alongside, without having to open a new browser window. If the content of a message does not trigger any relevant results, no ads or search results are shown," reports Clickz.
Although Live Mail Desktop team wants to make us think this is a feature, many user will not like the cumbersome interface. Maybe this way Mozilla Thunderbird will increase its user base.