On 6/27, we launched the first (limited*) beta release of the Windows Live Photo Gallery! Windows Live what??
The Windows Live Photo Gallery is a new application that will be a free download as part of the Windows Live suite of applications. If you’ve used the Photo Gallery in Windows Vista, this application will be very familiar to you (only better). We’ve been working hard in the months since Vista shipped (has it only been a few months??) to add in some key new features based on your feedback:
- Windows XP SP2 support: Did I mention that the Live Photo Gallery runs on Windows XP SP2? That was actually a fair amount of work in itself, but we think it was worth it to make these experiences available to a broader set of users than just those who have Windows Vista. Due to differences between the platforms, not all features will work 100% the same on XP SP2 as they do on Vista. For example, slideshow will be better on Vista (if your hardware supports it).
- Publish to Spaces: We’ve heard from a lot of people that they want to publish their photos online to share with their friends and family members. Windows Live Spaces is a great tool for doing this, and the Windows Live Photo Gallery will make it easy to select a bunch of photos, and publish them directly to your Windows Live Space.
- Import: We heard loud and clear that people want more control over how they import their photos – which photos get imported, what folders they go in, etc. You asked, we listened.
- Panoramic Stitching: One of my favorite features from Digital Image Suite was the ability to take a set of overlapping photos and stitch them into one panoramic photo. We’ve brought this feature into the Windows Live Gallery.
- More Fixes: More granular control over exposure.
- Simplified Navigation: We’ve removed some of the lesser-used options from the navigation tree, and added some new controls to let you quickly pivot the way you view your photos.
That’s a high level view of the changes you’ll see introduced in this beta. We’ll dig into each of these areas over the coming weeks to provide more detail, we just wanted to give you a little taste of what’s coming up. You can read the official announcement here.
Of course the Photo Gallery isn’t the only feature in the suite (it’s just our favorite – what can I say, we’re biased). When the suite is launched, it will include all sort of things, like Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Toolbar, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live OneCare Family Safety…the list goes on. It’s going to be a lot of fun in Windows Live land over the coming months – stay tuned!
* The audience for this beta is by invitation-only. If you didn’t get an invite, just remember – patience is a virtue. It will be worth the wait!
– Scott Dart (Program Manager)