Last night, Microsoft rolled out 3 new Windows Live betas as Nick White reports at Microsoft’s Windows Vista Team Blog:
Today our Windows Live team is releasing new betas for several Windows Live applications: Windows Live Messenger 8.5, Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Writer. All three are now available for download.
White provides many more details on what is new, but in a nutshell:
As anticipated, Microsoft today launched Windows Live Hotmail worldwide with a spiffy new AJAX interface and the intent of retiring its venerable MSN Hotmail which has over 280 million users. Some key aspects:
There are more new features and aside from the nomenclature madness, this all seems worthwhile, but now begins the long transition of existing users which Major anticipates will be complete by November. I can’t help but observe that the transition would be faster if they had the Outlook Connector and the new Live Mail client ready now.
Update: Ina Fried has an interesting Hotmail background story that reveals that the new AJAX interface was deemed too slow, particularly on dial-up lines, and that was the reason that an updated “classic” interface was reintroduced to the final product at some delay.
Microsoft today formally announced at 3GSM07 a full fledged Windows Live for Windows Mobile (that certainly trips off the tongue) client as well as two separate Windows Live Search options for mobile phones:
Today at 3GSM World Congress 2007, Microsoft Corp. announced three new Windows Live™ for mobile services that provide search and communications capabilities to help people access their world of relationships, information and interests from their mobile device. Now available in the United States and the United Kingdom, Live Search for Windows Mobile® and Live Search for Java provide customers with advanced local search and mapping capabilities on their mobile device. In conjunction with the availability of Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft also introduced Windows Live for Windows Mobile — a rich set of Windows Live services including e-mail, instant messaging and search — uniquely designed to work with Windows Mobile powered devices.
Live Search for Windows Mobile and Live Search for Java
Live Search is now available as a software client application on Windows Mobile and Java devices. These Live Search applications represent the latest innovation in mobile search from Microsoft, providing customers with fast, easy-way access to local listings and maps. New capabilities include a unique, category-based search, which virtually eliminates the need to type text into the phone; an option to “map all results” so several listings appear on the same map; aerial imagery; and local traffic status in selected U.S. cities. Live Search for Windows Mobile provides additional new capabilities including satellite imagery, GPS integration and the ability to send search results to a friend.
The new Live Search applications will be available in the United States and the United Kingdom to customers using Windows Mobile powered devices, Nokia Series 40 and Series 60 devices, the Motorola RAZR/SLVR family, and assorted LG and Samsung devices.
Customers interested in the Live Search for Windows Mobile and Live Search for Java applications can go to http://mobile.search.live.com to view a complete list of device availability and download the software for their device at no cost. Users can easily download the Live Search client directly to their mobile phone by going to http://wls.live.com on their phone’s browser.
Windows Live for Windows Mobile
Windows Live for Windows Mobile will provide customers with a rich set of Windows Live services, including Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, Live Search and Windows Live Spaces, uniquely designed to work with Windows Mobile software. Windows Mobile powered devices, with their advanced software, processing power and memory, make ideal platforms for the delivery of Windows Live services. Windows Live for Windows Mobile offers one of the first industry examples of a single integrated and presence-enabled contact list on a mobile device. One consolidated list provides customers with easy access to all their Windows Live, Microsoft Office Outlook® and other contacts, as well as relevant presence information.
The Windows Live Developer Program for Mobile now supports the development tools for independent software vendors (ISVs) to create applications such as Windows Live for Windows Mobile. The developer program provides software development kits, testing guidelines and support to ISVs to develop Windows Live for mobile solutions for Windows Mobile, Java, Symbian and Palm devices, and deploy them with mobile operators. Developers who are interested in joining the Windows Live Developer Program for Mobile should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More details by following the link, but except for the Java variant these seem like predictable mappings of Windows Live services to the Windows Mobile form factor and infrastructure. The outreach to other platforms including actually building a Java version of Live Search is reasonably prompted by the desire to not exclude any possible ciustomers and after all that is the point of a Web based service.
Microsoft on Monday released a new beta for its Windows Live OneCare security service, marking the first time that the anti-virus software runs on Windows Vista.
Windows Live OneCare Beta 1.5, which can be downloaded and used free of charge, is available in 17 localized editions for countries that include the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. Earlier editions were for U.S. customers only.
Other improvements and additions to 1.5, said a company spokesman, include tighter integration with Microsoft’s Windows Defender anti-spyware software, more back-up options (to USB-connected hardware and PCs on the local network), and support for Windows Vista RC1 (build 5500 or later, specifically).
We’ve released an updated version of our Contacts Control (formerly known as the Windows Live Contacts Gadget), with improved performance and functionality. Danny Thorpe explains what’s new in more detail on his blog, but I’ve summarized below. Additionally, we’ve updated the Contacts Map and Party Start sample apps to use the new version of the control.
We have another Beta refresh build available for you to download today! I am always excited to give the news that we’re releasing an update, but this one is especially exciting for me because I think you’re going to be incredibly pleased with some of the new features that have been added since the last build.
Finally, there were apparently two more stealth Live product launches – Local and Safety Scanner come out of beta:
Just in from http://ideas.live.com , although no official announcement as yet, but Live Local and Safety Scanner have dropped the beta tag and graduated to full blown Windows Live Services. This brings the list of released products to 10, according to ideas.live.com
I note that at one point it was Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner (among other names), but that the OneCare seems to have been dropped recently.