I’m considerably later than most of the pundits out there in writing about the latest release of Windows Live, but I’ve been busy exploring the new features in my new Live platform and wanted a better impression of what has been delivered before clicking the keys of my laptop.
I guess many of you will already have seen some of the new features, but behind the massive headline of SkyDrive going from 5GB to 25GB of free online storage, there is plenty more to experience. Perhaps one of the most significant is to take a look at what has happened to http://home.live.com. This is a complete redesign and re-engineering from the old page and seems to be the hub of a Live-based social networking tool. It’s become the central place for all the Live services linking email, Messenger, Spaces, photos and many more. One of the niceties of this is the personalised look and feel that is now consistent across all the Live services - from Hotmail to SkyDrive - with a wide range of choices to provide a design you want.
Back to Social Networking for a minute. The homepage provides an overview of the people in your network and this seems to be a mixture of Messenger contacts, Spaces friends and Hotmail contacts – I'm still getting to grips with this but so far it’s helping me to connect to new people already. An example is my colleague Remco - he is now one of my contacts in Live and I can now connect through to him and then his blog site which is in Dutch. Not a problem because I can use the live translation to convert it to a more readable (for me) language. There is also the possibility to link this with www.linkedin.com to draw contacts from there - not done this yet but perhaps soon.
Many of the installed software components have changed too and I now have the beta software for:
- Windows Live Writer (using it now)
- Windows Live Messenger – much improved interface
- Windows Live Photo Gallery – great integration with the live services
- Windows Live Movie Maker – fairly basic method of being able to create simple movies and publish them to cloud based hosting sites – it’s still beta.
As usual from me, my best advice is to try it out and see what it can do for you. Naturally, all of this can be accessed from live@edu once your students have an active Live account.
Interestingly, http://home.live.com has picked up on my Office Live workspaces and integrated them straight into the home page, I find this a great way of keeping in the loop of activity in those workspaces. It looks like Microsoft is increasing the visibility to Office Live Workspace so great to see this linked into my home page.