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Preview of the new Windows Live Essentials

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In recent posts we’ve talked about the new Messenger and the re-invention of Hotmail. Today, we’re going to spend time on the new Windows Live Essentials.

Windows Live Essentials – the essential software for Windows

Windows Live Essentials includes Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Writer, Sync and Family Safety. Essentials is available for free and in many cases may already be installed on your PC with Windows. If not, you can get it from http://download.live.com.

In the upcoming release, we focused on achieving two important goals with Essentials:

  1. Making everyday tasks simpler and enabling new possibilities on your PC
  2. Connecting Windows 7 to the cloud

Making everyday tasks simpler and enabling new possibilities

Windows 7 has set a new benchmark for PC simplicity and reliability. More than any previous version, Windows 7 saves you time and helps you get more done. With this release, we wanted Windows Live to help you save even more time with the top things you do on your PC. So we designed Essentials to help you communicate and stay in touch with the people you care about, and to help you easily organize, polish, and share your photos and movies.

Windows 7 also allows us to unleash a new set of possibilities that weren’t available before. We’re taking advantage of GPU-accelerated graphics and animations, using the new Windows 7 "ribbon" user interface, integrating jumplists into the Windows 7 taskbar, and much more to provide you with a great experience.

Connecting Windows 7 to the cloud

Today, most cloud services are accessed through a browser, which is easy and convenient, especially when you’re away from your PC. But there are advantages to connecting to the cloud directly through rich client applications on your PC. Namely, you have a powerful hub that connects to your devices in a way that maintains the privacy and security of your data. This affords a much richer experience while maintaining the convenience of the browser.

This belief informed our goal of connecting Windows 7 to the cloud with Windows Live Essentials. This means your Windows experience natively connects to the services you already use – not just the ones from Microsoft. The new Windows Live Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, and Messenger connect to photo and video sharing (SkyDrive, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, SmugMug), social networking (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn), email (Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo! Mail), blogging (Spaces, WordPress, Blogger), and document productivity (Office Web Apps) services.

And with the new Windows Live Sync, Windows keeps your files synchronized on the web and across multiple PCs. You can also directly access your PC over the web with the new remote desktop feature.

There’s a lot coming with the new Windows Live Essentials. We’ll cover this over a series of posts. For now, let’s focus on the new Windows Live Photo Gallery.

The new Windows Live Photo Gallery

From a million and one photos, to one-in-a-million

The new release of Windows Live Photo Gallery uses the power of your PC to comb through your million and one photos to find that one-in-a-million. All so that you can share your memories with those you care most about using the services you already use. We focused on making your photos easy to organize, find, fix and share regardless of whether you use social networks, email or photo sharing sites like Flickr.

The new Photo Gallery

Organize your photos effortlessly

We all take a lot of photos and videos that we love to share. Increasingly, those pictures and videos are taken using our mobile phones. In the US, 10 billion more photos will be taken in 2010 than in 2007— rising to nearly 57 billion this year.

With this in mind, the new Photo Gallery was designed with easy tools for finding the photos and videos you care about most. You can use the new Windows 7 ribbon interface to quickly narrow down photos by date taken, rating, tag (including geo-tag) or any combination you choose.

Of course the best way to search for photos is by people. In the new Photo Gallery, we are introducing new facial recognition technology that quickly organizes and finds photos according to the people in them. As you tag people in your photos, Photo Gallery learns what each person looks like and automatically suggests additional photos that they are in.

Windows Live Photo Gallery recognizes the faces of people you've tagged

Getting your photos ready to share

Photo Gallery makes it fun and easy to turn ordinary photos into extraordinary ones.

  • Auto Adjust looks deep into each picture and finds ways to fine-tune the exposure, color balance, angle, and sharpness to make it better in one click.
  • Retouch helps you remove unfortunate blemishes quickly. Should you want to (we won’t tell), you can even remove entire people from photos!
  • Batch editing lets you make the same edit to several photos at once.
  • Last, but certainly not least, we’re introducing Photo Fuse. Have you ever taken a group photo where someone’s eyes were closed? Using cutting-edge technology from Microsoft Research, Photo Fuse makes it possible to take the best parts of similar photos and fuse them together into the one perfect shot.

Photo Fuse lets you choose the best parts of each photo

Share right from Photo Gallery

Ok, now you have ten perfect pictures you want to share. Photo Gallery makes it easy to share them any way you want. You can post to your social networks or photo sites, create a movie, or send them as beautiful photo email messages.

One-click sharing from the ribbon in Photo Gallery

Share directly to your social networks. Here’s how easy this is – just select the photos and videos you want to share, click the service you want in the ribbon, and we’ll publish them for you. We’ve also worked with our partners to support tagging, so that when you publish a photo to Facebook, for example, the people tags go with it. And if someone else adds a tag once the photo is on Facebook, we’ll bring that tag back into your collection in Photo Gallery.

Send beautiful photo email messages. Social networks get all the headlines, but email remains the most convenient way to share photos. Yet photos and video file sizes can be huge, especially if you want to share more than a few images. So we’ve connected Photo Gallery to Windows Live Mail and Windows Live SkyDrive to make this easy. With one click we’ll take your photos from Photo Gallery into Windows Live Mail and apply a beautiful photo album template. You can send the album to anyone, regardless of email service or size of inbox. The photos are stored on SkyDrive for you, where your email recipients automatically have permission to view them. You can also use SkyDrive to send movies without clogging your inbox (of your friend’s inbox).

Apply one of several beautiful album templates to your photo email

Make a movie in a few clicks. Want to really bring a tear to someone’s eye? Take your photos and make a movie in a few clicks with the new Windows Live Movie Maker, which includes beautiful new transitions and rich visual effects that help you create movie magic. (More on this in an upcoming blog post!)

You can even share your slide show while you’re watching it! Just choose some photos in Photo Gallery and click “Slide show.” Right there, Photo Gallery hits you with a beautiful full-screen animated slide show, complete with movie-style themes. This is actually all powered by Movie Maker, so with one click you can take your slide show and publish it as a movie to YouTube, SkyDrive, or Facebook. Or if you want to get really creative, you can launch Movie Maker and take full control.

Full-screen slide shows that you can share online

Get ready – it’s all coming your way soon!

We’re excited about the new Essentials and how we’re bringing together the power of the PC and the cloud. Stay tuned for more on this, including upcoming posts on the new Windows Live Movie Maker, Mail, Writer, Sync, and Family Safety.

We’ll begin broader beta testing of the new Essentials in a few weeks. Meanwhile you can learn more at http://www.windowslivepreview.com.

Link: Lunarsoft

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