Microsoft has expanded and upgraded the suite of software and online services for consumers collectively known as “Windows Live” — not to be confused with Live Search. There’s a whole boatload of stuff here that spans the desktop, online and mobile.
The theme of these tools is integration of all your favorite content in one dashboard and environment, as well as providing access from anywhere. Windows Live services encompass calendaring, events, online storage, photos, groups, IM, email and quite a bit more. There’s so much here, it’s a bit overwhelming — to me at least.
All this is part of Microsoft’s software + services + cloud strategy. What’s perhaps most new and different is the wide range of partners and third party content that Microsoft has incorporated into Windows Live (including services from rivals). It’s a more open Microsoft on display here.
One of the stand-out features of the upgraded Windows Live services — most of them aren’t yet available but will be in the next couple of months — is Windows Live FrameIt. That’s a very cool (for lack of a better adjective) service that enables users to send a range of dynamic content from the desktop to digital picture frames, including images, traffic, news, weather and so on.
As a child I sometimes went grocery shopping with my grandfather. He would go to one place for meat, another for produce, a third for packaged goods and so on. This is a little bit like the way life is online: over here for email, over there for social networking, another place for photo sharing and so on. Windows Live is trying to address that confusion and fragmentation. But so are Microsoft’s competitors.
It would be silly to suggest that Microsoft developed these tools and services to drive adoption of Live Search. However, as a practical matter, if millions of people adopt and use Windows Live services they may be more inclined to use Windows Live Search, which is basically sitting right on top of all of them.