It is no secret that Microsoft’s “Gadgets” are a central focus of the company, with integration already present in Live.com and Windows Vista. The buzz around CES was that there are plans in the works to bring Microsoft Gadgets to Spaces. Microsoft has invested a great deal in bringing Gadgets to the forefront of their company strategy.
Considering all of these things, it is not surprising that Microsoft has a new system in the works for managing all of the new applets which are emerging. They call it Windows Live Gallery. Now, this name should sound familiar since there is already a gadget for Live.com (made available in the last Live.com release.) Currently this gadget displays the different Windows Live services which are currently available. In fact, Microsoft has something much bigger in store for Windows Live Gallery.
The gadget serves only as an extremely condensed version of what the full website will be. In the Live.com gadget, you can browse the Windows Live services and add their gadget if there is one available. With Windows Live Gallery, all Gadgets, Windows Desktop Search Items, Windows Live Toolbar Add-ins, and Search Macros will be browseable and downloadable. Ambitious developers will be able to submit your own creations to the site. Of course, automated tests will be run on your gadget to make sure that it works correctly and is secure.
Windows Live Gallery has some very useful community features to compliment the applet selection:
– Ratings: Rate submissions so that the best creations rise to the top and get more exposure.
– Reviews: Up close and personal reviews of the applications help you to make an informed decision about which ones you use. Being able to submit your review takes the Ratings feature a step farther.
– Flag: See something wrong or offensive with a gadget? Just flag it and it will be dealt with accordingly.
– Tag: Since tagging is all the rage these days, why not add it to Windows Live Gallery? Developers and users can tag any of the applications in the gallery with relavent keywords, making searching for what you need even easier.
All applications will also be sorted by Most Downloaded, Best Rating, and Recent, making it extremely easy to see exactly what you are looking for.
If you think that Microsoft forgot about the developers in this, you are sorely mistaken. In addition to providing a venue to put their applications, they will provide an extensive amount of developer resources. These resources include Reference Guides, Tutorials, Sample Templates, Sample Scripts, Frequently Asked Questions, and tips for Advanced developers.
As with a lot of the things we report, Windows Live Gallery is not “live” just yet and we do not have an exact release date, so I am going to keep speculation on that matter to myself for now. One thing is clear with this project however: Microsoft is committed to giving users a friendly, community oriented environment in which to customize your experience.