Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

10 secrets of Windows Live Wave 3

with 19 comments

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:

windows live profile personal status message

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.

windows live home page today's date

encarta on this day

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

windows live photo gallery tags

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.

windows live photos tags

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:

add an email account to hotmail

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:

multiple from addresses in hotmail


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:

windows live calendar entry


Personalized advertising

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:

Windows Live home page options

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.

windows live photo gallery photosynth auto-collage

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.

Windows live web activities filter


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.

windows live photos send link

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.

import facebook contacts to 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:

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).


Written by Jamiet

November 30, 2008 at 2:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

19 Responses

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  1. Can’t wait for this but sheesh such a long tease for all of this.


    November 30, 2008 at 2:45 am

  2. Be careful how you describe the Windows Live Essentials suite. The Windows Live Essentials suite is Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Family Safety, Toolbar and now Movie Maker. Home, Spaces, Events, SkyDrive, etc aren’t considered Windows Live Essentials as they are not desktop client apps. Not to nitpick but the way you worded it above seemed to confuse the differences.


    November 30, 2008 at 7:45 am

  3. Brandon,Thanks for the clarification. I did say "Windows Live services and Windows Live Essentials" but re-reading it can see what you mean. I’ve added the word "together" to hopefully disambiguate.-Jamie


    November 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm

  4. Great write up Jamie. A lot of stuff I’m surprised and pleased with. By the way, how do you get access to this private beta before everyone else?
    Now that the free Hotmail has ever increasing storage, and POP3 access, what will they do to fix Hotmail Plus?
    I’m surprised that only now, Microsoft’s delivering contextual ads targeted towards specific users. Well at least it’s a choice… I’m also happy to see you can fix what appears in the What’s New feed.  These are some good secrets. Can’t wait to see it come to me.


    November 30, 2008 at 9:28 pm

  5. Quite an informative post. Have posted it on my blog and linked you :)


    December 1, 2008 at 9:41 pm

  6. I used the blog it feature and clearly linked you in the first line of the article and thought it would suffice. But as per your request I have edited the entry and have asked my readers to come to your blog to read the entry. I hope this is fine with you.


    December 1, 2008 at 10:41 pm

  7. Dev,
    Putting a link to my blog is all well and good but if you copy the whole thing in its entirety then who is going to click the link?
    I appreciate your editing it, thank you.


    December 1, 2008 at 10:46 pm

  8. An awesome post, indeed!  Thanks for sharing this, Jamie.


    December 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm

  9. Great post Jamie.   


    December 2, 2008 at 5:38 pm

  10. Guys, did any of you find the way to embed the slideshow from photos into a blog or a website? I find only the options for a single picture or album, but not the slideshow to be embeded. Please help me!!!!!! Skydrive team … please help too!!!!In the old version of Skydrive – there was an option for a slideshow as well and when clicked on slideshow – there was an embed code for the slideshow to use to put into a website or blog. Since the change (yesterday, this option is gone)Please, helpGeorge


    December 4, 2008 at 3:40 pm

  11. George,Looks like you can’t do it. Shame really!-Jamie


    December 4, 2008 at 3:44 pm

  12. Thanks a lot Jamie. It is a shame!!! I just thought it is getting much better than flickr! :(


    December 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm

  13. Hi Jamie, Along with George, I wish to thankyou for your blog. Was looking for a place where I could get really good overview of Win. Live Essentials. Might not go along with having ads personalized, as I do like security, (worry about spy-ware, pop-ups, ect). Even keep another website just for ads, just for that reason, (the ads/spam I get alone, would criple MSN)


    January 4, 2009 at 7:15 am

  14. cool post


    January 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm

  15. Interesting new developments, but I almost choked when I read this line: "…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."(Hint: if you ever write "I’s" again in your life, it’s guaranteed to need rethinking.) How about "to both Helen’s and my profiles" next time?I like the convergence of the applications into one framework. I’ve been trying for months to get Hotmail to NOT mark a message as read just because it’s shown up in the reading pane once. I like to keep some for later to reply when there’s more time.Anyway, thanks for the informative blog.


    January 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm

  16. only knew about the "day in history" one. These are awesome. I would never have scoped around for these. Thanks. Get a raise huh?


    January 22, 2009 at 12:40 am

  17. HELP! I always have this one nauseating ad on my hotmail, of a cellulite-filled abdomen jiggling, or a old witch with wrinkles putting on some cream. HEY I have a tiny ab and NO wrinkles. it’s so nauseating i am going to have to get rid of hotmail. ANY ADVICE TO SAVE ME AS A CUSTOMER, TO HELP ME GET RID OF THESE ADS? AND PLEASE!! don’t tell me to let you guys nose in on my searches. thanks for any useful/relevant/accurate/easy-to-follow info you can give. carol.


    January 28, 2009 at 2:25 pm

  18. I like the idea of manageability, please consider other options such as You Tube, Tagged linking as well as other sources that others are welcome to suggest also. Thanks Ron Allison


    March 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm

  19. beautiful lady!


    March 12, 2009 at 9:18 am

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