A Windows Live Holiday wishlist

dear-santa_thumb Opinion Next month we’ll begin our 6th year of covering Windows Live news and information.  We’ve seen a lot come and go in the past 5 years (brought home by our recent move to WordPress which caused us to go back into the archives as we cleaned up urls etc.).  We’ve certainly come a long way in that time, but are we where we want to be as Windows Live users and enthusiasts?

Just to set the record straight, we are enthusiasts.  We were asked at one point in this past year why we were “so negative” about Windows Live.  Well, unlike lots of users, we haven’t moved to Google or Apple.  We see great potential in Windows Live, and while there are shortcomings, we want to see them fixed.  With that in mind, here’s…

Our Windows Live Holiday Wishlist:

  1. More frequent Windows Live Essentials updates, and a faster pace of innovation.Microsoft talks about balancing their “release rhythm” between “shipping sooner”, and “keeping things the way they are”, but the fact is that the other guys ship more, faster, and continue to gain traction (we think) because of that.  We hear from a lot of early adopters here at LiveSide, the ones that get really excited about new technology, tell their friends, and drive adoption.  They’re frustrated by the slow pace at which Microsoft and Windows Live moves, and more and more frequently they tell us they’ve given up and gone to Google.  Not only for our own sake, we need Windows Live in the news, every week and every month, not once or twice a year.
  2. Seamless Photo backup.This week’s troubles at Yahoo! with Delicious, and growing trepidation about the health and future of the leading online photo storage service, Flickr, shines an even stronger light on a glaring hole in Windows Live services.  Digital images are fragile, the one thing that most users create digitally, without any kind of hardcopy backup, that are essential to their lives.  Losing wedding or baby photos to some computer glitch can be catastrophic, and in these days of Azure and SkyDrive, it’s completely avoidable.

    Yet the experience of backing up any kind of decent sized photo collection to SkyDrive is painful at best, and almost impossible to easily maintain.  Give us seamless backup for photos, similar to what was offered in OneCare (and hey, sure, charge for it, we’ll pay a reasonable price).

  3. A SkyDrive clientAlong with that, somehow along the way the whole SkyDrive experience has gone off the rails.  We used to have Windows Live Favorites for cloud storage of favorites (no longer), and with every addition to SkyDrive (Office Web Apps, Windows Phone), the storage story gets murkier.  We can store Web Apps Documents in SkyDrive, and create folders in SkyDrive, but we can’t get from one to the other?  Huh?

    Make SkyDrive one seamless experience, with a drop dead simple client to manage it, and let us decide what goes where.  Again, we’ll pay if we need to ( the DropBox model is fine, or hey connect it up to Azure and charge us by what we actually use!).

  4. Windows Live and Bing clients for Windows Phone that are better than the iPhone.For both Windows Live and Bing, the slogan of the day seems to be “We’re all in… with iPhone!”.  Plain and simple, get on the Windows Phone bandwagon.  It’s embarrassing that there isn’t a Microsoft Windows Live Messenger client for Windows Phone (and don’t tell us about Miyowa, sheesh).  Bing showed off cool new features last week… for the iPhone, and Android.  Does anyone at Microsoft know how bad this looks?

  5. Some Live.com loveA couple of weeks ago some Hotmail program managers hosted a question and answer session on Reddit, and one overwhelming bit of feedback (along with “support IMAP”) came back: Fix The Branding.  Yet that was exactly what @live.com addresses were supposed to do, offer up a new, forward looking brand for users who held negative views of the Hotmail brand to use.  What happened?  The @live.com brand is sitting right in Microsoft’s lap, why not use it?

We have lots of other holiday wishes, of course, including a far more important one that all of our readers have a joyous and peaceful holiday season, and a great new year.  These are just a few of our favorite “rants”, and most fervent Windows Live wishes.  What are your Windows Live wishes for the new year?