A new wave, a new look: First look at the Windows Live Wave 4 header

We just told you yesterday that new themes are surfacing for Windows Live Wave 4 web services. Today we’ll be showing you screenshots of the new “Wave 4” header that you’ll be seeing in the upcoming Windows Live web services. Here’s a screenshot of what the default theme looks like, compared to that of the current one (top – Wave 4; bottom – Wave 3):

Windows Live Wave 4 header 

Windows Live Wave 3 header

Notice that the new look retains the same simplistic design and look, perhaps they have further simplified the navigation items such that the categories makes even more sense. It seems like Microsoft is particularly placing emphasis on the four pillars of Windows Live – Hotmail (e-mail, calendar, contacts), Messenger (social network), Photos (photos & videos), as well as Docs (online storage, collaboration, synchronisation). By hovering your mouse over each of the header links (including the “Windows Live” text as well as your own name), a drop-down menu will appear directing you to each of the Windows Live services. Here’s what each of the “Home” (the Windows Live text), “Hotmail”, “Messenger” and “Photos” menus show:

Wave 4 Home menu Wave 4 Hotmail menu

Wave 4 Messenger menu Wave 4 Photos menu

Perhaps what’s more interesting is the two remaining menus. We’ve reported earlier that two new services – Documents and Devices – will be making a debut in Wave 4. Seems like one of them is getting a rename and will debut as “Windows Live Docs” instead. Here’s a glimpse of what’s under the “Docs” menu:

Wave 4 Docs menu

Based on the clues given, it appears that Windows Live Docs is also built on top of Windows Live SkyDrive. While we haven’t seen it actually in use yet, we’re speculating (hoping) it might incorporate some of the document management features of Office Live, in addition to what we have in Office Web Apps and SkyDrive. The other new service, Windows Live Devices, will appear under the “Profile” menu (the menu that appears when you hover over your display name):

Wave 4 Profile menu

One more thing that’s not shown here in any of these screenshots is that it appears that the Wave 4 web services will incorporate Web Messenger along with it. This means that Web Messenger will no longer be solely accessible via Hotmail (and People), but whenever you visit any Windows Live Wave 4 properties, you’ll be able to access Web Messenger. A very neat addition!

As always, do bear in mind that these are pre-release screenshots, and do expect things to change. But from what we’ve seen, the fun is really only just getting started!