This is very, very cool. We all love Hotmail and now you can connect it FOR FREE to Outlook.  Check out the details from my fellow program manager Jared Brown:

This week, Microsoft released a new beta of an add-in that allows people to access Windows Live Hotmail in Outlook and best of all, it’s free!  It’s called the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector.  If you’re familiar with Windows Live Hotmail’s history, you may have heard of this add-in before.  It used to require a subscription but with the new Windows Live Hotmail, we’re now able to offer it free (for most features).  Every Hotmail customer can now take advantage of some of the best features Outlook has to offer, like Offline access, Categorization, Flagging, Instant Search, Electronic Business Cards, the To-Do Bar… the list goes on and on.

In addition to the new Ajax user interface that allows for richer capabilities on the web, Windows Live Hotmail includes a new protocol which the Outlook Connector uses to communicate with the service.  The new protocol is called Delta Sync and is very efficient, so your experience using the connector should be faster too.  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

You probably noticed that the new beta is free for most features.  It synchronizes Hotmail e-mail (including all your folders) and contacts for free, but still requires a paid subscription to MSN Premium, Office Live Essentials or Office Live Premium to synchronize calendars, tasks and notes. 

With the new Outlook Connector beta, you can get the most of Windows Live Hotmail and Microsoft Office Outlook, so Download it Today!

-jared brown