Microsoft has finally come forward with information regarding their Windows Live Folder service, as well as announcing a new Windows Live Photo Gallery for both Windows Vista and XP SP2. In early May Liveside was able to gain access to Windows Live Folders momentarily, but Microsoft quickly pulled access to the service.
Windows Live Folders is simply an online storage solution for people to upload their documents, photos, and videos to so that they can be shared with your friends, family, or even the world. Initially it only offered 250MB of storage, but the private Beta has 500MB and I’m sure once it is actually released it will be significantly more. If it is anything below 2GB I would be greatly disappointed.
The thing that interested me a little bit more was the Windows Live Photo Gallery which will be available for both Windows Vista and XP SP2. I love the new photo gallery in Vista because I can organize all of my photos as well as fix things (red eye, cropping, etc…) in it. With the new Windows Live Photo Gallery XP users would also be able to benefit from those features, along with a few new things that they added:
- Improved image editing features like Panoramic stitch, histogram, and sharpen image.
- Improved tagging and organization including the ability to quickly sort by name, file type, tag or date.
- Publish photos directly to your photo galleries on Windows Live Spaces.
- Auto event grouping and tagging when importing photos (and video) from your camera to PC.
- Improved Photo Import Tool.
Click to Enlarge
This demonstrates two different features that I put into one screenshot. It shows both the gallery and the new sidebar with the histogram. [screenshot credit: Vista Blog]
The coolest thing from that list of features is the Panoramic stitching which can assemble multiple images together. Photoshop has a similar feature for this and actually goes beyond doing just the typical Panoramic view, but having a free application that can do this with just a few clicks is sure to be a hit with people looking to have some fun.
Unfortunately this is also in the private Beta stage, and there isn’t even a signup site available for those of us who want to get our name on the list. So for right now we have to sit tight and twiddle our thumbs as they hammer away at getting a public Beta out for both of these services later this summer.