We had a chance to talk to Windows Live General Manager Brian Hall about this “major release” of Windows Live. In the first part, Brian goes over some of the major changes and new features we’ll soon see, talks about the timing of the release, introduces Windows Live Sync (coming first in Windows Live Photo Gallery), and touches on some of the issues surrounding the recent Hotmail upgrade. Here’s the video, and I’ll recap the major points below:
Brian’s 4 main categories:
- Much better Hotmail and Messenger (most of us are on the beta now, but will be seeing a beta update, what Brian calls a “release candidate” type update, in the next couple of weeks. Then we’ll see final versions in January or so.
- The Best of Social Networking brought into Windows Live. Microsoft is announcing some 50 partners to be included in the “What’s New” feed, including Flickr, Twitter, Amazon.com, SmugMug, PhotoBucket, and many more. Coupled with a new Windows Live Contact List that is a combination of the Hotmail and Messenger contact list and the Spaces Friends list, Windows Live will allow for permissions control on your network of friends.
- Windows Live Groups!
- Windows Live Essentials gets Windows Live Sync, will be refreshed in beta “in the next couple weeks”, and released sometime in January.
- We should be seeing the Internet Services portion of Windows Live (the new home.live.com, Profile, Photos, etc.) “in the next couple of weeks”.
- Same for a refresh of the beta
- Partners will be rolled out, (LiveSide will have more on the extensive partners list soon).
- Final Hotmail and Messenger early in the new year.
- “We’re excited, we think it’s a good release, but we made some mistakes”
- Folders bug (large font settings made folders not appear) is fixed.
- Underestimated numbers of people still using 800 x 600 settings on their monitors, rapidly fixing issues
- Known issue: not all of the features were released with Hotmail (Web Messenger, etc) so some of the changes didn’t seem to make sense. They do now.