Microsoft unveils Windows Live Essentials Wave 4
Microsoft has revealed the new key functions to come with their future client applications comprising Windows Live Essentials 2011.
Microsoft’s free software suite going by the name Windows Live Essentials is currently being prepared for an update release. Wave 4, also known as version 2011. Microsoft has already presented one of the most popular applications for this suite: the Windows Live Messenger 2011 instant messenger client.
For the new Windows Live Essentials, Microsoft has indicated that they are focussing on making Windows 7 cloud connected. Unlike Windows Vista, the Windows Live applications won’t be present in Windows 7 by default. We will have to wait and see if Microsoft puts real emphasis on Windows 7, with the new versions also be available under Vista (which will benefit from updates so that the Windows 7 technologies can be used), although it wont be made available to Windows XP.
The "abandonment" of Windows XP has caused a lot of backlash. With its Direct2D hardware acceleration, Internet Explorer 9 will also not be supported on the operating system whose global market share is still 62.5% (Net Applications Internet statistics compiled for May 2010). Microsoft believes that Windows XP no longer conforms to a modern graphics platform. The new Windows Live services, like Windows Live Hotmail and SkyDrive, will be accessible on XP though (and other platforms) via an internet browser.
Besides Windows Live Messenger 2011, Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 will offer: Windows Live Mail (email client), Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Sync (data synchronisation between multiple computers), Windows Live Writer (blogs), Windows Live Movie Maker (creation of films and slideshows), and Windows Live Family Safety (parental control). We will no longer talk about the Windows Live Toolbar either (for IE), as it is now the Bing Bar.
Windows Live Photo Gallery will bring with it Photo Fuse which allows you to combine a diverse range of photos into a single picture. There is also a facial recognition technology, automatic picture adjustments (colour balance, brightness, etc), editing, a Search tab to filter photos by face, name, date, location, etc. The Windows 7 libraries will also be handled, with the navigation being done through the Ruban user interface.
This same interface can be found in Windows Live Movie Maker (and others). Automatic themes (AutoMovie themes) which can be applied to photos and videos have been improved, while video backup’s can be saved in the 720p and 1080p formats. It is possible to share with Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and SkyDrive, while additional sites can be added to the list through other plug-in’s.
Windows Live Sync allows for the synchronisation of files and folders between multiple computers. Once the folders have been synchronised, they will be available even when there is no Internet connection available. Access to a remote desktop is also available.
For their part, the Windows Live Mail client will bring with it numerous functions that Microsoft already offer with Windows Live Hotmail (link with SkyDrive, integration of instant messaging, different message organisation views).
More details about Windows Live Essentials 2011 can be seen on this site where Microsoft has drawn similarities with Apple’s iLife. Things do become a little more blurry when looking at the release date of Windows Live Essentials Wave 4. Microsoft states that it will be soon, while there are numerous rumours which state that a public beta version will be released this month.
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