A look at the Dynamic Themes in Windows Live Wave 3

Over at The Space Craft blog the Windows Live Spaces team had written up an overview of the upcoming Windows Live Profile, and of course here at LiveSide we’ve covered that long before they did. However what is interesting about this post is that it is one of the first posts from Microsoft that talked about the dynamic themes coming in Windows Live (of course, we briefly told you about that ages ago as well). Here’s what they have described:

The top of the profile will highlight your theme…Many of the new Windows Live themes (like the one shown below) will be dynamic, reflecting the time of the day and the weather in your current location. You can see that it’s kind of cloudy and gloomy in Seattle right now, but it’s not raining!

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We’ll take a more in depth look at this. For those of us who had been using the current Windows Live Home (http://home.live.com), you may have already seen how the colour of the page changes depending whether it’s day or night at the location you’ve set. Similarly, in Wave 3 you’re able to set your location in Windows Live Home:

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If you’ve chosen one of the Dynamic Themes (in the private beta, only four dynamic themes were available: Daisy Hill, Tugboat, Prairie, and Desert, it is expected that when released there’ll be dozens more themes available), Windows Live will automatically get the weather information in your location. The time zone settings are also set in your Windows Live Account and used to determine the time of day it is at your location. These two parameters combined will determine what is shown in the headers of your Windows Live services (and also what others will see for your very own Windows Live Profile) – but of course, your Spaces, Groups and Events will allow you to choose a different theme for each of them.

To be exact, the dynamic themes don’t change by the second in your time zone, they’re only changed every four hours. Weather information also only covers certain conditions, such as Clear, Cloudy, Rain, Snow, Windy, Hail and Thunder. The image below shows the different headers displayed during the time of the day (from top to bottom: Midnight, 4am, 8am, 12noon, 4pm, 8pm) and also of the different weather conditions (note that Windy, Hail and Thunder only have a day and night header, instead of changing every four hours). The sample is from the theme “Daisy Hill”.

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This image may take a while to load on slower internet connections, the image is about 2.5MB.

It is great to see Microsoft is actually spending time and effort in creating these themes – every variation of them. We’ve seen in the one of the Messenger video that the team had listened to your feedbacks about the current themes in the Wave 3 beta and had created a dozens more themes (or scenes) for you. This is great effort guys – well done Microsoft!