Microsoft announces an expansion of the Active Views functionality in Hotmail.

Over 90% of all email contains a link to some deeper content that isn’t being surfaced in the email, and we know from our research that for most of these messages, there are a few common responses – viewing a slideshow, playing the video, checking shipping status, or accepting an invitation. To help solve this problem, we created Active Views – a platform that reinvents email by making your inbox more interactive and helping you get tasks completed.

First, we focused on popular types of emails with photos, videos, documents, and shipping notifications (e.g. YouTube, Hulu, Flickr, FedEx) and how we could make common actions easier.

Next up – invitations, updates, coupons, and ratings

Now that we have a great experience for common attachments and links, we’re taking the next steps with invitations, updates, ratings, and deals. More and more services use email to let their members or customers know when something has happened, and most of these messages have a simple response – accept the invitation, comment on the photo, rate the movie. Now those actions happen right in your inbox, saving clicks and time, thanks to the work of partners like LinkedIn, Posterous, LivingSocial, and Netflix.