Microsoft just launched Windows Live Photo Gallery Beta 2, and just like the previous version it is available for both Windows XP SP2 and Vista. In order to get the update you must have the first Beta already installed, and then you must perform a Windows Update with the Microsoft Updates enabled. In the available updates you should see a “Critical Update for Windows Live Photo Gallery (KB943550)” listed.
On my Vista machine the update process took about 3 minutes for it to download and install itself, and then I got all of the new features! Well, really there only appears to be one feature, but it is BIG. I think you better sit down for this one … Microsoft actually added support for uploading photos to the Yahoo!-owned Flickr photo service. Here’s how it works (click any thumbnail for a fullsize view):
- You highlight the photos that you want to upload in the Windows Live Photo Gallery, and then go to Publish -> More Services -> Publish on Flickr.
- You’ll have to give the program access to your Flickr account just like you would with any other Flickr uploader.
- Now you’ll be able to select the properties for all of the photos that you are about to upload. You can create a new set or choose an existing one, select the maximum photo size, and choose a privacy option.
- Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee while it finishes things up.
When you upload the photos it will grab the description and tags that you have given your photos on your computer, so you don’t have to worry about doing that on Flickr! Honestly, I have to admit that Microsoft really stepped up their game with the new Windows Live Photo Gallery by adding support for Flickr. And the “Publish on Flickr” option is located under the “More Services” menu, which seemingly implies that support for more services will be coming in the future. Or, at the very least, they will let users create plugins for other photo services.
One thing that really bothers me with the Windows Live Photo Gallery is that it has the blue-colored bar that stretches along the top. I’m not a big fan of that color, and in other “Live” programs such as Live Writer and Messenger I’m able to change it to any color I want. I have no idea why I can’t do that in Windows Live Photo Gallery, but I would like to get it back to the black color that ships with Vista.
And remember, this is available for both Windows XP SP2 and Vista. After you download and install Windows Live Photo Gallery you’ll just have to do a Windows Update to get the latest Beta.