First Look at Windows Live Essentials 4

Last week Microsoft realest the public beta for Windows Live Essentials 4. For you Mac people that’s the Microsoft version of iLife. So the new version is in Public beta this means it’s not finished yet there could be some changes between now and when it comes out officially. Also this means it might crash a lot for you so I’ll give you the disclaimer your mileage may vary.

Windows Live Photo Gallery:

Windows Live Photo Gallery was the first thing I looked at after I installed the suit. Photo Gallery is the App I use the most out everything else in Live Essentials. Why is that? Well for a long time I’ve been looking for something like iPhoto but for Windows. I tried things like Picasa and it just didn’t feel right to me. Then wile listing to Windows Weekly on the TWIT network they were talking about this Windows live thing and went to the site they gave to get it and installed it. The first version was not 100% what I wanted but I knew it would get there one day. Today I feel Windows Live Photo Gallery is right where I want it.

The Ribbon UI has been added to all the applications this time around and it is done very well I think.

As you can see from the screen shot they have added things such as batch tagging, and a few more options built in to upload your photos online such as Facebook and SkyDrive. One of the improvements I saw right off the back was a better way to brows photos by people that you have tagged. On the home tab there is a thing called quick find if you have photos that you have tagged people in, their face will appear there. If you click a person’s face it will find every photo you have of that person instantly. Photo recognition is not new in Photo Gallery but the ability to use it to find peoples photos quicker is new. There is so much more like being able to crate photo slide shows easier, and tons of other things that I will get more in depth on when it comes out of public beta.

Windows Live Writer:

Windows Live Writer was the second thing I checked out since it’s the second most used app in the suit that I use. There isn’t really to many changes to this app. This time around it seemed like it was more about simplicity. I found that finding tools that I use in there for the site was a lot easier to find and use. I also noticed some stability updates such as when I add a photo from my computer it doesn’t lock up like it used to and same for adding YouTube videos. Those are all the changes I really could find with Live Writer.

See Part 2 tomorrow.

If You want these apps now just go to http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials-beta to get the public beta. Just to note you should look at the system requirements before you install. Also from what I can see there is no XP SP3 support for Essentials 4 so your out of luck XP users.

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