Wave 4: Windows Live Photos to get video playback support, improved slideshow features, and more!

Windows Live Photos logoA few weeks ago we showed you what’s coming in the new Windows Live Office. Today thanks to a recent blog post by Technogran, we’re able to give you a glimpse of its sister-service, Windows Live Photos, which is also based on SkyDrive. Here’s a screenshot of the Windows Live Photos Wave 4 home page, taken directly from the http://hotmailpreview.com website:

Windows Live Photos

You can see that not much has changed since Wave 3 on the surface, besides it receiving a brand new header with Web Messenger support, and improvements made to the “Messenger social” feed (formerly the “What’s New” feed). However, what’s new and improved about Photos Wave 4 is actually beneath the surface, and you’ll notice them once you dig deeper into the service. The first and most prominent improvement is the integration of a Silverlight-based online video player, giving you the ability to play your uploaded videos (or videos shared with you) directly within SkyDrive, without having the need to download them onto your computer first:

Windows Live Photos - Video playback

Not only can you view videos on the Photos website, but if you view your albums in Windows Live Photo’s Slideshow view, and you have a video in your album, you can playback the video within the full-screen slideshow too (also powered by Silverlight), and the UI looks really beautiful:

Windows Live Photos - Video in Slideshow view

What’s more about the Slideshow view is the ability to add people tags during the slideshow. Clicking on “People tag” on the top will let you tag your photos or videos with people on your Windows Live contact list. But that is not all, remember that the new Windows Live Contacts provides a unified contact list, meaning that if you’ve connected Facebook to Windows Live, all of your Facebook contacts will appear on your Windows Live Contacts too (and de-duplicated of course). This means that even if your friend is only on Facebook and not on Windows Live, you can still tag that person within Windows Live Photos too.

Within the Slideshow view, you’ll also be able to directly comment on the photos or videos you are currently viewing. Clicking on the little speech bubble on the bottom left corner will bring you the Comments box, as shown below:

Windows Live Photos - Comments in Slideshow view

If you think leaving a comment is not enough, and you’d like to chat with your friends about the particular photo online, the new Windows Live Photos Slideshow view provides integrated Web Messenger support too. Simply click “Messenger” on the top, and your Messenger contact list will appear on the right-hand side of the screen. You can then chat with your friends about the photos directly within Windows Live Photos, right inside your web browser! The Web Messenger has the same look and feel as the one integrated into the Wave 4 header, featuring tabs support too, so it’s very intuitive to use. Take a look at the screenshot below:

Windows Live Photos - Web Messenger in Slideshow view

Of course, Windows Live Photos is only one portion of the digital memories experience, and it is the full integrated experience with Windows Live Photo Gallery that makes it complete. Imagine this scenario: you use Photo Gallery’s new face recognition feature to automatically tag all your friends within your photo library, then in one click, you can publish and share these photos with your friends, together with the people tags that was automatically tagged, directly onto Windows Live Photos as well as Facebook, and they can directly comment on or even chat with you about these photos, right from within the web browser. Life is made really simple with Windows Live Wave 4.