A couple of weeks ago we started noticing an interesting referrer popping up in the stats for some of our posts. Turns out Microsoft moved their Wave 3 services from the dogfood servers onto beta servers, and as a result some MSFT employees were clicking through to us from http://home-beta.live.com. You won’t be able to sign in to any of the beta sites yet if you’re not on the approved list (the betas haven’t started yet if you’re worried), but here’s a few gems we learnt while digging around.
Note – as the new sites are locked down, these are just features we’ve spotted/inferred from looking around the existing sites that are running side-by-side. What’s great is that now new features can be tested before being rolled out to the general public, something which Spaces has needed ever since one of its updates rendered the service unusable for several weeks.
Windows Live Home Beta (http://home-beta.live.com) – As mentioned above, softies are clicking through to us from this site, thanks to the new homepage having default groups of feeds that users can subscribe to. Looks like this new homepage could have similar features to my.live.com, so it’ll be interesting to see how much functionality they duplicate.
Windows Live Profile Beta (http://profile-beta.live.com) – Sorry Jason and Sabina but you’re our demos (everybody else had personal photos up). You can see from these feeds that photo albums are now stored on Skydrive. That means you can now use your Skydrive storage across multiple services, which should please a lot of people.
Windows Live Photos Beta (http://photos-beta.live.com) – The front-end user interface to the photos stored on Skydrive, see below. This means you now start to share your 5GB of storage across Windows Live services, which hopefully is a sign of further consolidation in the storage area. Lets face it, we have too much scattered storage already (about 30GB worth!)
Windows Live Skydrive Beta (http://skydrive-beta.live.com) – With photos going to be stored on Skydrive, there’s more privacy options you can set, as shown by the new icon below. This means photos won’t necessarily be visible to the public, giving users some control over content that’s currently lacking in the existing Spaces photo albums.
And for completeness, the urls of the other beta sites:
Let us know if you find anything: tips [at] liveside d0t net