Microsoft dropped the new Windows Live Essentials beta, adding
tons of new publishing and web service options to their suite of consumer
desktop applications. Here's a look what's changed in the beta and how the new
apps stack up.
Your Favorite Social Web Sites
The biggest update to this Windows Live
Essentials beta is the overall added support for web services and social
networking. Windows Live now connects to and supports a variety of popular
online accounts, including Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Gmail, WordPress, and
many more. Some of these improvements are more well-integrated in certain
programs than others, but Microsoft's giving easier access to a ridiculous
amount of your accounts instantly.
on the program and what services you connect to your Windows Live account, you
can share what you've been doing on other web sites, see friends and updates,
or share your Windows Live activity. We'd recommended you manage your services
on theWindows Live account page, where you can get a better
idea of all the accounts you're connecting, since connecting to your accounts
from within the apps is somewhat cumbersome. Windows Live allows you to control
your different privacy account settings however you like.
Live Messenger gets a revamped look, adding support for Facebook and MySpace.
Now it's possible to comment and see your friends' activity while being
connected to Windows Live Messenger chat buddies. You can also add other people
from other services like Google Contacts or LinkedIn, but they will have to
accept your invite before you can communicate via Windows Live.
Windows Live Photo
Live Photo Gallery manages photos (with limited support for videos), and allows
instant publishing to file and photo services like Facebook, Flickr, and
SkyDrive. It's possible to tag people using your social network info—and if you
upload the photo to Facebook, the tags transfer.
Likewise with the updated Windows Live Movie Maker, it's now much easier to publish your videos to SkyDrive, YouTube, or Facebook without much hassle.
Windows Live Mail
Live Mail beta adds support for the newly redesigned Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo! Mail.
There's not much else here except that it's much easier to add your webmail,
and Mail is a decent option for a Microsoft-built desktop email client without shelling
out for Outlook.
Windows Live Sync
new Windows Live Sync keeps your files synchronized across multiple PCs and to
Microsoft's online file storage service, SkyDrive. What's nice about Live Sync
is that it will also keep your Internet Explorer, if you still use it, and
Microsoft Office program settings synced to computers connected to your Windows
Live account. The program also adds a remote access feature that allows you to
access your computer remotely.
Windows Live Writer
Windows Live Writer beta now connects to blogging platforms like Blogger,
Spaces, and WordPress so that you can instantly write and publish posts online
without having to log in to the selected blogging platform. Lifehacker's How-To
Geek swears by this one.
Have you downloaded the new Windows Live
Essentials beta, and giving all of these new features a try? Let us know your
experience in the comments below.