Windows Live Gets a Facebook-Like Facelift Windows Live has decided to get a little more social -- in more ways than one. They have introduced a number of new updates to the Live platform and welcomed into the fold some third party applications that make the experience that much richer. According to Microsoft, Windows Live is now revamped to "make it easier and more fun for consumers to communicate and share with the people they care about most". Lots of big changes to make the 460 million or so Windows Live Customers happy. WindowsLiveNewServices.jpg
Windows Live New Services

Windows Live New Features

* Social Features: There's an updated profile, a new activity feed (what's new) that shows your activity across the network (see more info below), web and photo sharing. Also included is SkyDrive, a little piece (5 GB) of online storage to access and share files with your friends. * Messenger: Messenger gets an upgrade including more personalization, a what's new feed, drag and drop photo sharing, a favorite contacts list and the ability to do group chats with up to 20 people at once. * Hotmail: Microsoft says Hotmail has 80% more effective spam filtering, the ability to bring multiple emails into one view, more storage, an updated calendar that integrates with Outlook * Groups: Collaboration for a group of people -- shared calendar, storage, email address and instant messaging WL_Messenger.jpg

In addition, online storage is increasing to 25GB from 5GB.

New Downloadable Software

Along with the new website capabilities there are also a few new software downloads -- Windows Live Essentials -- for the PC: * Windows Messenger and Mail: These two now share an integrated contact list, and the Calendar and all your email accounts are now in Mail * Live Writer: Blogging just got a bit easier and you now add photos and videos * Photo Gallery and Movie Maker: Edit and organize your photos and movies, then make them available online * Family Safety: Filter inappropriate websites, kids can request access to filtered sites, age specific default settings - now the kids are in trouble. WL_LiveWriter.jpg
Live Writer

These products work seamlessly with the online features outlined above. You can try out the betas and see how they work.

Partnering For More Functionality

To provide even more functionality, Microsoft is partnering with over 50 of the most well know web companies showing that Microsoft knows how to stay at the top. WL_Profile.jpg
Windows Live Profile

Collaboration with companies such as Flickr, LinkedIn, Photobucket, Twitter, WordPress and more allow Microsoft to display changes to those sites in its new What's New Feed and hook into the new Profile. WL_Activity.jpg
Activity Feed

The New Features are Coming Soon

The new Windows Live functionality will start rolling out over the next few weeks becoming available in 54 countries and 48 languages by the beginning of 2009. Does this help Microsoft keep Google away? Google Sites are all the talk now and may have possibly been putting a dent in Microsoft's Live services. But now it would appear that Microsoft may have just provided enough new functionality to Windows Live that users won't want to make the switch. You can get more information from the Windows Community ClubHouse and the Windows Live Blog where there are a few videos showing the new features.