Seamlessly publish your precious photos on Spaces


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)

Comments (4)

  1. pearljam says:

    Hi there

    I just installed and used Windows Live Photo Gallery Beta yesterday. I had a few comments and I thought I should share those with you

    1. The installation seems to take an inordinate amount of time. I do know that I did not install on the fastest of machines, but still the installation took around 30 minutes

    2. I have a network share mapped as a drive. This network share holds all my pictures. However when I tried to add the  mapped folder, I got an error that the folder could not be added. I managed to add the folder by browsing to the network location.

    3. I published some pictures to Live Spaces. While uploading I kept the Optimize option checked. Unfortunately the quality of pictures that got uploaded was very poor. If I switched to full-screen viewing mode, the pictures appeared very grainy.

    Otherwise I quite like the product and was quite pleased that I could stitch pictures off the bat. Keep the good work coming.

  2. cjm55 says:

    Hi

    I’ve been looking forward to this application for a long time and I’m really rather impressed with it so far, having been running on Vista Ultimate at home as soon as it was available.

    I’ve a few comments I’d also like to share:

    1) The panoramic stitching is quite amazing but I have found that it’s sometimes necessary to iterate the creation of panoramas by manually adjust the photos that are used for the composition in order to avoid getting banding where one photo has a slightly different color cast.  Would you consider adding an interactive version of the panorama such that the generated image can be modified in terms of its constituent parts?  I presume that you internally still maintain enough state to know which pixels relate to which image, even after the various distortions that are applied.

    2) Is there/Will there be an SDK or will I be able to add in support for publishing images on to Facebook?  I would use my Live space more but I’m still waiting for the 60 day transition to move the old space name to my new Windows Live ID :-(

    3) Are you planning on adding more tools in the same expander control area as the Sharpen tool?  

    4) There seem to be a couple of issues with memory consumption and performance (it is a beta after all) when viewing panoramic images – although the filesize was only 5 MB after stitching, attempting to save an update to the file after performing a fix to the colors left one of my CPU cores at 50% for over a minute with 300 MB of RAM allocated…

    5) Any chance of seeing you add in some of the work from Microsoft Research’s GroupShot application?  It would be awesome to be able to harness those snazzy graphcutting algorithms to make better composites out of various snaps of people from parties such that everyone in the shot has their eyes open!

    Please keep up the great work – I’d love to be working on a product that’s this good 😉

    Chris

  3. pixblog says:

    pearljam – thanks for the comments (love your band btw!)

    Can you log the issues over on http://feedback.live.com/ for the problems that you have run into? This will help our team follow up with you to get all of the info they need to fix the problems.

    1) After logging the issue, you may be asked to attach log files from the installer to help us troubleshoot

    2) Were you blocked from adding the folder? We *warn* users from adding an entire drive (due to potential perf issues), but you *should* be able to continue. A mapped drive might cause you to run into this, but it sounds like you also found a workaround.

    3) Do you know what the resolution of your images are? If they are less than 1600×1600, they may appear grainy simply because they are low resolution. If you uploaded high-resolution photos and they still look grainy, please log the issue and include a link to the album so we can investigate

    Thanks!

  4. pixblog says:

    Chris (cjm55) – thanks for all of the questions, I’ll try to answer them as best as I can

    1) We’ll be posting more details on the panoramic stitching feature soon (shooting for next week). I don’t believe that you’ll have the level of control that you’re looking for in this release, but I’ll let Karthik (the owner of this feature) speak to that in his post.

    I’ve found that I get the best stitch results when I adjust the individual photos to match as closely as possible before I start the stitch. Also, using something like a circular polarizer can make the banding you refer to even worse, so I try not to shoot panorama photos when I’m using a polarizer.

    2) I don’t beleive that we will be offering an SDK in this release, but rest assured that we do want to support publishing to sites other than spaces. We know that there are a ton of other sites that users want to publish to.

    3) I think that it’s safe to say that we haven’t exhausted all photo editing features yet. I can’t say what features we’ll add when, but I don’t think that we’re done yet

    4) Can you log this issue on http://feedback.live.com/? You may be asked to attach the files so we can investigate further

    5) I can’t say what features we’ll add when, but I would love to see this feature integrated into the Photo Gallery as well!

    Thanks for all of your great questions and feedback!