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Windows Live Product Suite October 14, 2006

Posted by sk in Computers & Internet, Microsoft, Technology and Software, Windows Live.

Over the last few months, I’ve beta tested several Windows Live Applications. While some of them have managed to stay on my system after they passed the beta phase, I’ve uninstalled a few others because I didn’t find the need for them (or they were just too buggy). I’m listing some of the applications that I have used and the things that I like and dislike about each of them.

  1. Windows Live Messenger: I love this application, especially the concept of sharing folders. I’ve also used the live calling feature to call India and the voice quality is pretty good. This messenger allows one to chat with Y! Messenger users, but it’s at a pretty basic level now. I look forward to seeing more functionality with respect to that. The look and performance is decent too. I have had a few issues with connectivity though. In addition, The “turn on what I’m listening to” feature doesn’t seem to work for me. Overall, I would have been happier had this still retained the “beta” tag. More info at: messengersays.spaces.live.com
  2. Windows Live Mail: Overall, I think this is the best product among the Live Suite so far and the most fun to use mail client that I’ve used so far. It has a very simple, yet cool UI and the latest release, M8 has only taken it a step higher. I love the “Send E-mail from” feature where you can send an e-mail using any other e-mail address. I hate the ads, though. They’re extremely intrusive. Also, it’s still a little slow. Moreover, while all features work with IE6, IE7, and FF1.5, in Opera only the basic functionality (classic view) is available. More info at: mailcall.spaces.live.com
  3. Windows Live Mail Desktop: The UI is awesome. There’s not much more, though. While the latest release does seem to have tackled some performance issues and have cleaned up the UI, I’m still not happy with the fact that one can’t group two or e-mail accounts together into one folder. The feed reader is neat and the new version has an “Update Feeds” button. More info at: morethanmail.spaces.live.com
  4. Windows Live Spaces: Much better than MSN Spaces, but the header ads are annoying.  Also, why can’t one customize the header??? The statistics provided are not sufficient either. One more thing I’ve seen is that blogs on Live Spaces are not very visible on Google. Correct me if I’m wrong!
  5. Windows Live Local: Great quality maps, amazing satellite views and the bird’s eye view is breathtaking. I hate the directions though. I wish they’d provide images. Also, when they ask you to bear right onto the ramp for I-805, do they mean 805 South or 805 North?? This is especially confusing when the ramp to both directions is on the same side of the road. Way to go!! Available at:local.live.com
  6. Windows Live: Looks good and all that but this is just not ready for prime-time. I’ve decided to switch to bloglines for now. Maybe I’ll get back when things improve.
  7. Windows Live Safety Scanner: A very good free online safety scanner. It scans for viruses, removes temporary files, cleans the registry, etc. Pretty decent. It’s available at safety.live.com
  8. Windows Live One Care: Similar to Live Safety Scanner, but this one rests on your desktop. Moreover it’s not free. I think three licenses cost $49.95 for a year (or less on Amazon). Of course, you can try the product for free for three months at onecare.live.com
  9. Windows Live Search: Finally Microsoft has released a search client that matches Google. But why would one want to switch now? I haven’t. Try it out at: search.live.com
  10. Live toolbar: Very useful if you use any other Live products like Windows Live Writer, which I haven’t talked about in this post (but Tismar takes care of that). Available at: toolbar.live.com

More information about these products is available at liveside, in case any of you is interested. Also, a list of beta and released Live products is available at Windows Live Ideas.

P.S. I hate to add images to my posts and I know that makes it even more boring. In case anyone on the Sparks team wants to add images, feel free to do so. Just make sure they’re relevant. So… no Nagma! 🙂