Tracking A Package? Watch It Live
If you get shipping notifications from USPS in Hotmail, you get a live view of where the parcel is and when it’s going to arrive, right in the email. This uses the same Active View as the photo and video previews do–you get the standard email message in the bottom half of the window, but you also get the details of your delivery extracted from the shipping site so you don't have to copy the tracking number and look it up yourself. You can see the expected delivery date (or the actual delivery date) and the status of the parcel, and you can click to open the details of your shipment on the tracking site if you need to know more.
Like the Office docs, social network updates, and photo Quick views, the Shipping updates Quick view filters your inbox so it only shows emails with shipping details. When the new version of Hotmail launches in July, the shipping details will come from several partner services (we’d expect FedEx and UPS to be on the list, along with online stores like Amazon) but in the beta, this only works with the U.S. Postal Service. We also expect to see more kinds of active views for information that’s useful to see right in your email–you’ll be able to accept LinkedIn invitations without leaving your email. Or how about seeing the weather at your destination in the reminder to check-in for your flight?
Like the option to clip information from Bing searches into an email you're writing, these new Hotmail features take advantage of the fact that Webmail means you're online and that you pull real-time information into your inbox. And that makes Hotmail slicker and more powerful than Gmail.
Shipping notifications tell you to expect a delivery, while shipping updates in Hotmail tell you where it is.
When you're online, your email can do more, like turning links into photo thumbnails.
If you want to add a map or a Web link to your message, the Bing option on the Attachment bar might help you find it.