Hi all, it has been now a little more than one week that Windows Live essentials beta came out here, and I wanted to share with you my first impressions and tell you all the new stuff I have discovered!

My first post is going to be on photo gallery because it is the one I have used the most since the beta came out.

The main problem with a big photo library is that when you want to find a picture it might take ages. Windows Live Photo Gallery solves this problem by helping you filter/find you pictures according to several criteria:

  • You can use picture browsing thru folders or by selecting the date range.
  • You can use rating to then select your favorite pictures (going from one to five stars).
  • You can flag a picture (the same way you do it in outlook).
  • You can add descriptive Tags to a picture, then search with meta data
  • You can geotag a picture to then find it according to the place where it has been taken
  • (And finally the best one) you can use face recognition to find all the pictures of give person (and it works really great, after training on 20 pictures it could find more than 500 without an error!!!).

The Edit tab gives a lot of cool functionalities too. You can easily correct a picture, such as straighten it, use noise reduction, or change the Color or the exposure; you can even correct the time stamp of a picture or its size in one simple click.

Some of the other new possibilities in Windows Live Photo Gallery are the panorama creation, the photo fuse (where you take the best part of many pictures) and Photosynth (which is now totally integrated in Bing maps)

Finally sharing picture has never been easier, with dedicated buttons to share picture by email, SkyDrive, Facebook, Flickr, LiveGroups and Youtube.

By the way, Microsoft has published a nice video showing some cool possibilities of Live Essentials http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjOGDcILlDA

Download link: http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials-beta

Kind regards,

Steven Meyer, Lead Student Partner Lausanne