Microsoft’s Windows Live Essentials 2011 is ready for prime
time. This consumer-focused suite of free applications, has moved
from testing mode (beta) to final release. The productivity suite
is Microsoft’s flagship bundle of Web-based productivity apps for
managing and sharing images online, editing video, and sharing
documents and files between PCs.
In addition, the company announced that Live Essentials will be
bundled with Dell Computers sold during the holiday season.
“Windows Live Essentials 2011 was designed and built to connect
your PC to the services you use every day,” Windows Live
Engineering Vice President Chris Jones wrote at the Inside
Windows Live blog.
The applications in Windows Live Essentials 2011 include:
Photo Gallery, for sharing photos with your friends on
SkyDrive, Flickr, SmugMug, and Facebook.
Writer, for updating your blog on WordPress.com,
Blogger, and TypePad.
Windows Live Movie
Maker, for editing videos and publishing them to
Messenger, for connecting you with Facebook, LinkedIn,
Mesh, for syncing your files and folders across your
PCs and connect back to your PC from virtually
Windows Live Family Safety, for managing
permissions on your PC to keep kids safe.
Mail, for managing e-mail from Hotmail, Gmail, and
One of the interesting characteristics of Windows Live
Essentials 2011 is that this suite is surprisingly open in the way
it works with and connects to third-party services such as Flickr
and YouTube. Typically Microsoft has chosen to give the cold
shoulder to so-called “frienemies” and keep Microsoft customers
using Microsoft services. This update to the Essentials suite
expands its reach beyond the Microsoft universe.
In addition to its outward-looking orientation, the suite’s apps
have some interesting new features. For instance, both the video
editing and photo programs are hardware accelerated for better
performance than the typical web-based app. Photo Gallery also has
a face recognition feature that allows it to combine the best faces
in an assortment of group photos and create an ersatz group photo
with the results.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can download the latest version of the software.
–John P. Mello, Jr.