10 secrets of Windows Live Wave 3
Windows Live services and Windows Live Essentials (which together include Home, Messenger, Hotmail, Mail, Spaces, Events, Photo Gallery, Calendar, SkyDrive) are, in the next few days, due to receive a major facelift and in addition will introduce some new siblings to the Windows Live suite such as Groups, Photos, People & Profile*; You can read about some of new new features at http://www.windowslive.com/Home which are collectively known as Windows Live Wave 3.
I have been lucky enough to have had access to the Windows Live Wave 3 properties for the past couple of months and that has afforded me the opportunity to dig in and find the small enhancements that might not be so obvious upon first using them. Hence I’m writing this latest blog entry in my 10 secrets series; these are 10 little hidden gems that might not be obvious when you first use this stuff but should really enhance the experience of using Windows Live Wave 3. On we go!
Update PSM from your profile
Your personal status message (PSM) is where you tell your network of family, friends and colleagues what you’re up to and has traditionally been set from within Messenger. With Windows Live 3 however you don’t need to have Messenger installed to change your PSM, you can do it from your profile just by clicking on your existing PSM:
What happened today?
Your Windows Live homepage at http://home.live.com is your first drop off point online for all things Windows Live. The new Windows Live homepage shows today’s date and if you click on that date then you are launched into MSN Encarta’s On this day in history page where you can learn about what happened on this particular day in years gone by.
Unfortunately this feature is only available in the US but you can still use it by going to http://home.live.com/?mkt=en-us
Tagging people in Photo Gallery tags them online too
Windows Live Photo Gallery now includes the ability to tag people that appear in your photos. That’s a nice new feature but the really cool bit is that if you upload that photo to Windows Live Photos then the tag travels with it. If the person tagged is someone from your network then the photo will appear with a link to that person’s Windows Live Profile.
For example, here’s a photo of me and the wife in Photo Gallery
and when I upload it to Windows Live Photos we see that the tags come with it and links are provided to both Helen and I’s profile.
POP in hotmail
Hotmail now allows us to read emails from email accounts other than Hotmail as long your other email account provides the ability to access it using POP (which most of them do). Here I’ve set it up to read from my Gmail account:
Emails sent to my Gmail account will now appear in my Hotmail inbox and I can even opt to reply to them using my Gmail email address as well:
Create Calendar entries from WL Mail
The big new feature in Windows Live Mail is the ability it brings to view your Windows Live Calendars (i.e. those at http://calendar.live.com) offline and if you use Windows Live Mail then you probably know about that already.
What isn’t so obvious is that you can easily turn an email into a new calendar entry by hitting the “Add to calendar” button in an email window. When you do that the window changes to enable you to add all the information needed to make it a calendar entry such as start time, duration and location. You can choose which of your calendars it goes into, whether to send you a reminder, and all the other good stuff that you would expect from a calendar function:
If you head to http://home.live.com/options/ you’ll find many options available to you to customise your Windows Live experience. One of the most interesting is the option to have personalized advertising:
When hitting that link you end up at https://choice.live.com/advertisementchoice/Default.aspx and as stated at that site:
Personalized advertising from Microsoft helps make the online ads we display to you more relevant. As you use our online services and browse sites from Microsoft and its partners, we use the information we collect over time (such as your search queries and page views) to help predict which ads will interest you most. For example, if you’ve previously searched on bicycling terms, we can display ads for cycling products and services.
To some that may seem like invasion of privacy but as I said in my blog entry Ad me, baby! I welcome it. If I am going to get served ads anyway I would rather they were relevant. That’s just me, you may understandably disagree and if so, let me know in the comments below.
Photo Gallery extras
If you have some of Microsoft’s extra photo processing software installed then chances are they will appear on Photo Gallery’s Extras menu. I have got Photosynth and Auto-Collage installed and they are both showing up.
Lose the What’s New “noise”
The introduction of web activities to the Windows Live means that your What’s New feed is now a treasure trove of information about what people in your network are up to but is also means there’s a lot of stuff that you don’t really care about; we colloquially call this “noise”. To get rid of the noise from your What’s New feed head to http://profile.live.com/whatsnewsettings/ and select which web activity, people or groups you want to remove. So far I’ve removed the Twitter web activity – it was far too noisy.
Send a link to a photo album
Got a photo album that you’d like to share with someone? If you’re viewing one of your photo albums at http://photos.live.com then hit “Send a link” and you can have Windows Live email a link to people or categories of people that you select. As an added bonus you can keep that album private and still allow the people that you invite to see the album, even if they don’t have a Windows Live ID.
Import Facebook contacts
Head to http://profile.live.com/connect/ and you can import all of your contacts from Facebook into your Windows Live network. You don’t have to submit your Facebook username/password to Windows Live and you will be told which of your Facebook contacts are already on Windows Live.
That’s it. That’s your ten. How many of them did you know about? Let me know in the comments.
If you want to know even more about what’s in Windows Live Wave 3 then take a look at these other blog entries that I’ve posted:
- Sharing Favorites with Windows Live Toolbar
- Windows Live wave 3 screenshot photos
- New Windows Live Toolbar might just make you reconsider what you think of Toolbars
- The complete list of web activities in Windows Live wave 3
- What happened to Spaces?
- Hotmail Quick Add
- Web activities in Windows Live
- Windows Live Groups is (almost) here
or simply visit www.windowslive.com/explore.
*Note that at the time of writing and publishing this blog not all of the Windows Live Wave 3 properties are publicly available, hence some of the links in here might not go anywhere (but they will do soon).