Last week the anticipated Windows Live Suite saw the light of day and I think it’s an important milestone. I was traveling by then so only found the time now to write about this here. The launch started on Wednesday with a post by Chris Jones (VP Windows Live Team) on Windows Live Wire and was followed by posts on the several product team blogs.
With the Suite you’ll be able to install the whole pack of Windows Live software at the same time, or install just the program you need. Download the whole suite or just one program or take a look at the overview of all:
Windows Live Writer
Maybe still my all time favorite as I’ve been using this program since the very first day I could get my hands on the internal beta and I loved it every since. Windows Live Writer is a program that allows you to blog from your desktop to any blog service you can think of. I use it to blog to 3 blogs on WordPress, 1 on Live Spaces and 1 blog on sharepoint. Here are the main updates of the Writer beta.
Windows Live Mail
I like to keep my work email separated from my personal email and I basically have a program for each. Outlook obviously is my work email client and for my private accounts that is Windows Live Mail. When you download this program it will replace Outlook Express on XP and Windows Mail on XP. If you have one or more Hotmail addresses and a Gmail, … then this client might be a good solution for you (when on a PC). Since I have a few Hotmail & Live IDs together with other accounts like Gmail I use this program every single day.
Windows Live Photo Gallery
The Live Photo Gallery is becoming a new favorite of mine. I’ve just bought myself a new Canon 400D SLR and taking more pictures than ever before. The program will import all pictures from your camera, turn them in the right direction if needed, has crop feature, red-eye correction, … etc but apart from what I see as nice but basics is the option to create very nice panoramas as I tried with some pictures of my visit to NYC in July. Pretty nice no?
And of course – it’s a Live service isn’t it – there’s the option to add photo’s directly to your Space & videos directly to Soapbox from the Gallery.
Windows Live Messenger
Not many updates from the 8.5 beta 1 if you were on that already, but mainly bug fixes and the availability in quite a few more markets. With up to 400 contacts in my Messenger list this program is really becoming a commodity, I couldn’t miss it for a day.
Other elements of the Windows Live Suite are OneCare Family Safety (which I need to test some more myself before commenting on it) and Windows Live Toolbar (which is already out for a while – no updates). I installed the full suite which took me about 15 minutes for all programs and I experienced no issues. Like maybe most free software these days, the Suite will also propose to change your search defaults which is an easy opt out in case you’re not interested.
Up next? I also noticed Windows Live Translator is out in beta (no announcement yet) and works with Systran for the translations (like Babelfish) but offers a nice side by side view. And on September 26th there will be a search PR event at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus to announce our search 2.0. I’ll report on that after that.
(disclaimer: I work for Windows Live)