Winding down my series of experiences with applications and services in the Windows Live Essentials suite, I want to start talking about some of the cool add-on’s that make the online experience a very powerful one.
Microsoft continues to offer a similar toolbar for users of MSN which pretty much does the same thing as Live Toolbar by offering the following services:
- Take MSN with you: MSN Toolbar is always with you when you’re online on your PC. Stay up to date without leaving the Web page you’re on.
- Put information at your fingertips: Top headlines, news and features from over twelve MSN channels with a single click. Connect with your friends through Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger and Spaces.
- Find it fast: Use the handy search box to find whatever you’re after. Get Live Search results even when you use another search engine, plus make specific MSN channel searches.
- Customisable: Change the colour to jazz up your Internet browser!
Access to various Windows Live Toolbar services (click to enlarge)
The Windows Live Toolbar is more simplified but more cohesive, featuring a Live Search Box and links to Windows Live services such as your Windows Live Profile, Mail, Photos, Calendar, Sharing and Translation services. The Search field features an integrated list box so you can search specific content such as Web, News, Maps, Images, Feeds, current web page or your computer on the fly. The great thing about it is no matter where you are on the web you can stay signed in and have immediate access to these Windows Live services. You can preview your Mail inbox, see new photos from friends and family in your social network and preview events in your Calendar.
Adding a Toolbar button
If you find the Live Toolbar predefined set of applications too limited, you can install additional buttons which range in services such as Wikipedia, Office Live or Live Skydrive. I love the Wikipedia button since I am always looking for information on topics that interest me, you can find more at the Windows Live Gallery where there is a healthy collection of add on’s for Live Toolbar.
Windows Live Gallery provides access to additional buttons for the Live Toolbar
Translating a web page from its native language to English using Translate. (click to enlarge)
Its way more simplified and focuses more on content. The Translate this page button handles translation of web pages written in foreign languages to your native language. How well does it work? I didn’t spend too much time to find out, but the speed is very fast. I translated a Windows Live Space written in Portuguese to English; the results were not impressive, but I could understand what was written on the page without too much deciphering. Translated pages can be viewed in multiple ways including side by side, Top/Bottom, Hover over with Translation or Translation with original. English speaking users have the option of translating up to 13 languages, worldwide languages that can be translated to English include Chinese Simplified and Mandarin, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, French and German to name a few. The only gripe I have about the Live Toolbar, it doesn’t support Firefox and there is no Internet Explorer 64-bit support either.