Windows Live is rapidly maturing into a very real and competitive set of products. Each individual service isn’t the best solution, excluding Windows Live Writer perhaps, but it does have a huge advantage over all other alternatives; the Windows Live ID. The Live ID gives a unified profile across the whole Live suite and is something that can’t be underestimated.
Things have been fairly quiet for the last few months, but recently we’ve been hearing a lot more about upcoming releases and what to expect from the Wave 3 Live suite.
Gradually we are seeing the increasing integration of Windows and Live products, all working towards the 2009 release of Windows 7 and hopefully finally realising the vision of the Windows OS + software + services.
Internet Explorer 8 is also a important part of this vision and this has become more apparent with the release of beta 2 on Monday.
A year ago the following statements where made in an internal planning memo by the Live development team:
Many customers will use Internet Explorer to connect to our services. We have a unique opportunity to extend the browsing experience for customers using Internet Explorer with our toolbar and additional services that enhance the browsing experience. What scenarios and features will we enable that are unique for customers using Internet Explorer? How should our web-based experience change if the toolbar is installed? How do our services make the browser experience better?
Our experiences will be designed so when they are connected to Windows 7 they seamlessly extend the Windows experience, and we will work to follow the Windows 7 style guidelines for applications. We will work with the Internet Explorer 8 team to make sure we deliver an experience that seamlessly extends the browser with our toolbar and other offerings.Search and MSN
The plans to extend the Windows Live experiences into Internet Explorer is interesting because I noticed the beta 2 release of IE8 introduced a slightly modified theme which is beginning to look similar to the new theme coming with Windows Live Wave 3. Take a look at these screenshots:
If you don’t agree, then take a look at what IE7 looks like compared to the current Wave 2 Live theme:
The next few weeks should see the launch of some Wave 3 products including a new Live Mail application, Live Messenger and hopefully Live Photo Gallery as well.
Live Mail will include instant messaging, better calendar management between Live Mail and Live Calendar and better contact management features.
Live Photo Gallery will include people tagging and face recognition and hopefully, but unlikely at this point, the option to publish to photosynth.
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