Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 Beta was released in early August. Windows Live Essentials is a bundle of free products from MIcrosoft that everyone with a PC should get. It includes:
Hotmail/Live Mail – this used to be bundled in the OS (remember Outlook Exchange)? Now Outlook Exchange is history and Windows Live Mail/Hotmail is in with some great features.
Windows Live Photo Gallery – Fabulous revving of this product. This post will feature how to add visually appealing photo albums you can send via email. The photos are really a link that your recipient can click on and view your picture albums. Live Photo Gallery now has facial recognition, posting to Facebook and other social spots and great organizational capabilities
Windows Movie Maker – I’ve talked about this elsewhere and now with Wave 4, it’s even better.
Windows Messenger – Here’s my article about the Messenger upgrades.
Windows Live Sync – syncs your files between computers and allows for anywhere access to your computer. Replaces Live Mesh. I’ve been experimenting with it—looks good.
Share Visually Appealing Photo Albums via Email
There are many great features of Windows Live Photo Gallery. Today I wanted to feature how you can insert a complete photo album and send and share with friends.
You will have to use your Windows Live Mail Account to access these features. You can use your web mail or your desktop Windows Hotmail/Live Mail application to insert photo albums. (Get the desktop application/client from your Windows Live Essentials download). The Web version of Hotmail/Live mail is accessed via a web browser.
Inserting a Photo Album from a Browser – Windows Live Mail/Hotmail
check out the new insert tool bar when you use live mail from your web browser.
- Attachments will take you to your local hard drive to retrieve a document.
- Office Docs’ will take you to your Sky Drive (in the clouds) storage to attach a document from there.
- Photos will take you to your Sky Drive photo storage, a web image or clip art.
- Bing gives you choices from Bing’s wealth of videos, images, etc.
The web interface isn’t as good as the desktop application (in my opinion), because you have to choose the ‘photos’ button and then it confusingly gives you choices of ‘create skydrive album, web images or emoticons’. I’d rather have it give me a choice to get my pics from my skydrive or my hard drive. Maybe they’ll fix this.
I chose Skydrive, and it took me to windows explorer to choose pics from my hard drive (because I don’t have pics in this particular Windows Live account).
So I chose several pictures and it first put them as attachments (the old way). But then it asked if I wanted to make an album (see below). That’s what you want to do! You can then send really attractive looking photo displays to your friends & family. Further down, there are two illustrations of how cool looking your email will look.
Inserting a Photo Album Using Windows Live Mail/Hotmail Desktop Application
With the updated Live Beta download, this desktop live/hotmail interface looks very Outlook-like with many of the same features as the Outlook client. The desktop Mail client (free) will allow you to insert a photo album, but only from your local hard drive, NOT your on-line albums. I wish there was an option to grab photos from my skydrive.
This shot above shows all the options available for sending photos to friends. You can choose one of several layouts, you can choose if you want to send large or smaller pictures. You can set the album privacy so it can’t be forwarded. You can’t see here, but you can double-click and enter the title of your picture album. It shows the recipient how long it’ll be available.
Using the desktop Windows Mail application is more feature rich and just seems to be a lot easier and has more choices.
If you don’t have Windows Live Essentials, I’d really recommend you get it. If you have any tips or features to share, post them!
Picasa and Flickr are nice photo storing programs as well, but with Windows adding facial recognition to it’s upgrades, and because of the way it integrates so well with the other Live and Microsoft products, it’s my first choice for photo storage and sharing.