Yesterday Microsoft launched managed betas for Windows Live Folders and Windows Live Photo Gallery and Chris Jones, Corporate Vice President, Windows Live Experience Program Management, describes them as a step towards the next generation of Windows Live which will include a unified Windows Live suite available in a single download.
We’ve mentioned Windows Live Folders previously - it’s a fairly pedestrian online storage service that offers beta users 500MB of online storage.
Windows Live Photo Gallery is an upgrade of Windows Vista’s Windows Photo Gallery (sic) and is free to both XP and Vista customers allowing them to ”to share, edit, organize and print photos and digital home videos.” Again, media organizing programs are not particularly novel, but Gallery has a services hook that allows easy uploads to Windows Live Spaces blogs.
As for the “next generation of Windows Live”, Jones says it’s all about providing users a unified set of Microsoft ”software plus services” (as contrasted with the “software as a service” (SAAS) touted by Web only vendors) and that:
Just as one small example, soon we’ll begin to offer a single installer which will give customers the option of an all-in-one download for the full Windows Live suite of services instead of the separate installation experience you see today.
He offered no further details on the latter, but it surely is one way to overcome the hurdles provided by today’s proliferation of poorly understood and separately installed Windows Live offerings.