Windows Live Wave Released

Joining the Microsoft family of user friendly applications comes Windows Live Wave beta 3. Aside from the applications that come bundled in Vista (Sidebar, Calendar, Photo Gallery, etc), I am very impressed with Microsoft’s initiative to release free user applications that do so well for free. The Windows Live suite is especially great for those still using Windows XP, that do not have the liberty to download or utilize the new applications included with Vista.

Windows Live Wave is an upgrade to the Windows Live Suite. WLW features Writer for Blogging, Mail with Calendar, Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Toolbar, and Family Safety. Of course, the installer grants you the ability to install only the applications you want.

Live Photo Gallery advantages over previous versions include:

  • the Vista-feel has been abandoned by reducing the bottom rotating/zooming/viewing functions to the bottom-right hand corner
  • the ability to tag your Messenger contacts or any person using “People tags” similar to MySpace (aka tagging)
  • Messenger Photo sharing imports shared images from Messenger in to Photo Gallery
  • Photo Gallery will join Windows Live Dev, allowing developers to develop plug-ins for the application
  • includes a new Publishing API that enables the community to build plug-ins for virtually any sharing service
  • In addition to stitching a panoramic photo, Photo Gallery now also integrates with the latest Photosynth technology

Live Movie Maker advantages and disadvantages over previous versions include:

  • lacks in basic features to make it actually useful
  • additional service integration and plug-in architecture for the future
  • ribbon UI similar to Office 2007 and to be coming in Windows 7 and the Paint beta
  • cross fade, black & white, and Sepia tone effects
  • Removed items (?): timeline editor, cropping, text overlays, audio mixing
  • Obviously Movie Maker is far from complete but already offers better output quality and an open API for future extendability

Windows Live Messenger advantages over previous versions include:

  • ability to store shared images to Windows Photo Gallery
  • new look, as well as many customizable UI features (change contact layout, etc)
  • Shared Folders has been replaced by Online Files
  • “What’s New?” RSS feed integrated
  • “Favorites” group to sort contacts to

This article was constructed with the new Windows Live Writer, along with several free plug-ins available at http://gallery.microsoft.com

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