As you (hopefully) know by now, we released our first public beta of Windows Live Photo Gallery a few days ago. Even though we’re not quite done tinkering with it I’d like to tell you about one of the best new features we’ve worked hard on these last few months.
First, a question: Why do most people take photos? OK, I admit, there isn’t a 100% correct answer to that question but I’d be willing to bet something along the lines of “to share with my friends and family” would be darn near the top. In fact, when I was at CES earlier this year and I was working at the Microsoft Digital Memories booth, hands down the most frequently asked question I got was “Can I publish my photos to the web from the Photo Gallery?”. Sadly, at the time, we didn’t have any features that enabled this but we heard you loud and clear!
The brand new Publish on Windows Live Spaces feature provides a seamless and streamlined way to share your digital photos on your space directly from the same application you use to import, organize and edit them. Allow me to walk through the play by play:
After you’ve selected one or more photos you’d like to publish on your space, click on the Publish button and then select Publish on Windows Live Spaces…
In order to enable users to publish on Windows Live Spaces, we needed a way to allow users to sign in with their Windows Live ID (a.k.a. Passport). So, if you’re not already signed in with your Live ID in the Photo Gallery you’ll be asked to sign in when you try to publish. Since Photo Gallery is integrated with Live ID, as soon as you sign in with your Live ID we’ll automatically know your space information so you won’t be asked to provide any information or configure anything. If you’ve never even used Spaces before, no worries… the first time you publish photos we’ll take care of setting up your new space and we’ll even configure it to use one of the photo themes available on Spaces. Nice, eh? 😉
OK, so after you’ve signed in the Publish on Windows Live Spaces dialog will appear (below). You have two main choices when it comes to publishing: you can either publish your photos in a new album or to an existing one already on your space. The default option is a new album. The thumbnail displayed as the new album cover will be automatically chosen based on the data taken metadata. The album title will be pre-populated with the folder name where that first image is located on your hard drive. The idea is when you import your photos many users give the folder containing the set of photos a useful name, so we’ll assume that might be a good starting point, but you can change it. If you’re looking to allow people to enjoy great prints and full screen slides shows of your shared photos, select the Optimize photos for printing check box (checked by default in a few markets).
If you don’t want to create a new photo album and just want to keep adding photos to an existing album on your space, click the Add to an existing album link (on the main Publish dialog, above) and we’ll show you the list of albums on your space. We provide a rich look by showing you the album cover, album title, the last modified date, # of photos and eventually the permission (note: during the Beta the permission displayed will always be “Public” because we haven’t quite finished this dialog yet).
Regardless if you choose to publish to a new album or an existing one, once you click on the Publish button on the dialogs above, the upload progress will appear. *Power user tip* If you want to upload more than one group of photos at a time, you can! As one group is being uploaded, you can select some more photos and repeat the publish steps. As photos are being uploaded, the follow-up publishes will be queued up behind each other and will start automatically as the previous one completes. Try it out!
As each upload completes a summary dialog will appear (below). We’re guessing most users will always want to check out the album online, maybe customize it, and then send a link to it to their friends. The View album button gets you to the album directly.
That’s the Publish on Windows Live Spaces feature in a nutshell. Since we’re in Beta we’d love to get your feedback. What do you like? What do you hate? What can we do to make your photo sharing experience better?
– Michael Palermiti (Program Manager)