In an interview with CNET’s Ina Fried, General Manager for Windows Live Brian Hall discussed some of the major improvements users can look forward to experiencing in the coming months as the Company starts rolling out the next version of Windows Live Essentials:
"We’re refreshing Windows 7 with a new suite of apps," general manager Brian Hall said in a telephone interview.
The updates to Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live Mail, and Windows Live Sync will go into beta in the coming months, Hall said, declining to be more specific.
The next version of the Windows Live Photo Gallery tool will add facial recognition abilities and improved editing tools for removing blemishes or scratches. Apple has had face detection in the most recent version of iPhoto, but until now Microsoft has only detected the presence of faces in shots, not tried to recognize who, exactly, was in the picture. Hall said Microsoft’s face recognition features draw on the company’s research efforts as well as tapping in to the user’s existing network of social contacts to figure out who might be in a photo.
Users can also expect some improvements to Windows Live Movie Maker such as the ability to ability to upload to Facebook, the ability to import photo caption data from Photo Gallery, and new themes. Microsoft is finally consolidating their data synchronization technologies into one solution simply called Windows Live Sync. Previously Microsoft had a Folder sync solution which allowed you to synchronize files with more than one computer over the Internet. The separate Mesh technology allowed you sync data across multiple PC’s, devices and platforms such as Mac OS X. The new Windows Live Sync lets users share an unlimited amount of files in a peer-to-peer fashion among a number of Macs and PCs, but limits cloud storage to 2GB down from 5 GBs. I personally would have expected Windows Live Skydrive would take control of the data storage. I am impressed though, a lot of these features that users can expect can only be found in commercial/professional software packages on the market. I can’t wait to start using them!
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