Windows Live Internet Services – “Major release” announced

We’ve been waiting a long time for this: tonight Microsoft and Windows Live are announcing a major release of their Internet Services, what we’re calling the first “feature complete” version of Windows Live.  This is big news for Windows Live fans, and LiveSide will have a number of posts in the next few hours detailing the many facets of the announcement, including a video interview and demo from our new favorite Windows Live guy, General Manager Brian Hall.  Here is a quick overview of the highlights:

  1. Windows Live Internet Services is being announced tonight, and will be rolling out over the next weeks, somewhat similar to the Hotmail rollout.  Internet Services includes Home.Live.com, the What’s New feed, Profile, People, Photos, Web Messenger built into Hotmail, and more.
  2. POP support for email in Hotmail will finally be freely available, starting sometime around January.  This is full POP support, both into and out of Hotmail, for free.
  3. SkyDrive will increase its storage to 25gb, and Hotmail will feature increasing storage from the 5gb it now features.
  4. The What’s New feed will feature an extensive list of Partner participation, allowing users to include information from some 50 Partners so far, including Flickr, Amazon.com, Twitter, Yelp, WordPress, and many more.  This means that when you post pictures on Flickr, or write a review on Amazon, or twitter a message, or write a review on Yelp, for example, that information will show up on your What’s New feed, and be shown to your network.

Rather than post the press release, a reviewer’s guide, and a list of the Partner’s, we’ve gathered these documents into a SkyDrive folder.  Of course we’ll be going into more depth on this major release, but these three documents contain a wealth of information on the new features and services: