Microsoft reveals updated Windows Live Essentials suite

By on June 3, 2010, 12:53 PM
Microsoft has previewed a major refresh to its freely downloadable Windows Live Essentials suite, which includes Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Mail, Sync and others. According to CNET, Redmond hopes the overhaul will make Windows more appealing to consumers during this year's holiday season since no significant updates are planned for the OS itself.

The revamped version of Photo Gallery will add facial recognition to make life easier when it comes to managing and organizing tons of photos. Photo Gallery will also receive new editing tools, such as Photo Fuse, which lets you take the best parts from similar pictures and fuse them together. This feature is demonstrated in the image above, where a woman swaps her face in a group shot.

Movie Maker will get new themes, the ability to import photo caption data from Photo Gallery, export HD videos, and you'll be able to upload content directly to Facebook, and other sites. Mail will let you manage multiple email accounts, calendars, RSS feeds, contacts and newsgroups in one place. It'll also let you send up to 10GB of photos per email, chat via IM in the inbox, and more.

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New Sync features include the ability to share unlimited numbers of files in P2P fashion across Macs and PCs although, there is a 2GB cap on cloud storage. Among other things, that online storage can be used to hold data you want to synchronize while other machines in the network are powered off. Once turned on, they'll automatically download the information.

It's reported that some if not all of the new Windows Live applications will be strictly available on Windows Vista and 7 only, but not Windows XP. Microsoft is really talking up its freshly polished software, suggesting for instance that the new Photo Gallery is better than Apple's iPhoto "hands down." The beta is expected to rollout in the coming weeks, and we'll reserve judgment until then.

User Comments: 5

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KG363 KG363 said:

Make Windows live better than iLife and there will be no competition. I want iMovie quality moviemaker

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This facial recognition stuff is getting really crazy in just free software, like this one and in Picasa, and I know at least in Picasa its very accurate. I have even seen free software that does facial recognition for a password on your computer, and is supposed to even work if you shave off your beard, or get a hair cut. I have to wonder how insanely accurate facial recognition is getting in professional software.

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Great to see MS updating it's applications and making it's platform better for everyone.

Although "Mail will let you manage multiple email accounts" I know for a fact that the Windows Live Mail client has been able to do this for a while. I have been using it for months now and sync 2 different email accounts with it.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

It would be really nice if they supported XP for this. Not everyone is rich enough to afford a new computer that can handle Win7.

Guest said:

I see what you mean, those are some steep requirments for Windows 7:

-1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

-1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)

-16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

-DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

I have installed Windows 7 on many "low end" computers that ran it fine. The most frequent problem I have is with integrated video not supporting Aero. But the systems all still function exceptionally well, and it is not difficult to get many non XP drivers to work just fine with 7. Also remember that if you had a .edu email account you were able to get Windows 7 for $30 last year, or $50 without an account (preorder sale). Many universities handed out 7 for free as well. It's not like you HAVE to drop $900 on a core i7 system just to enjoy Windows 7. So that my comment isn't JUST me being a *******, what specs do you have that you are unable to run 7 with? Did you simply run into compatibility issues? If you are willing to build a system I can find some bundles that would let you run 7 with aero enabled for >$400(tower hardware only, with OS).

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