Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Did Windows Live Wave 3 deliver on what I wanted?

with 7 comments

On 18th October 2007 I published a blog entry What do I want from Windows Live? which was, exactly as it reads, a list of stuff I’d like to see delivered within Windows Live. I thought it would be fun to run through that list today and see how many items Windows Live Wave 3 delivered upon.

  • Hotmail and Windows Live Mail (i.e. the desktop mail client) should offer the ability to attach files from Skydrive or, even better, embed a link to a Skydrive-stored file. I’ve talked about this before. Not delivered in Wave 3 as far as I’m aware.
  • Skydrive offers the ability to subscribe to the contents of a folder via RSS feed. That’s all well and good for those that use an RSS reader but as Robert Scoble pointed out recently, most people on the internet don’t. Hence I would like to see people being given the ability to subscribe using Live Alerts which is currently a woefully underused platform in the Windows Live landscape. Like it or not the world still runs on email, not RSS (and certainly not on walled-garden social networks). Not delivered in Wave 3.
  • Messenger should provide us the ability to send files from our skydrive or, even better, embed links to them. This should supercede the current ‘Shared Folders’ feature within Messenger. Not delivered in Wave 3.
  • As I said very recently most activity committed using a Live ID should be viewable via the Live Spaces newsfeed. Furthermore there should be an API available that allows third-party offerings to publish activity to that newsfeed too (more on APIs later). It would be nice to see all this activity on a timeline overlaid on Windows Live Calendar when that finally arrives. Huge progress has been made on this in Wave 3 by extending the power of the What’s New feed as Dare Obasanjo has covered in his blog entry What We Did Last Summer: Social Network Aggregation and Activity Feeds in Windows Live. The Calendar timeline idea hasn’t been provided but in hindsight that was a naff idea anyway.
  • Change of status on Messenger should be reflected on Live Spaces too. Definitely delivered in wave 3. Not in the guise that I describe here but instead on our profile at http://profile.live.com.
  • Geotagged photos should be viewable on a Live Map. Not delivered in Wave 3 at http://photos.live.com. Disappointing
  • Whenever we build a search macro there should be a Live Agent automatically built that allows us to query that search macro from anywhere that we can converse with Live Agents. (N.B. Live Agents are sometimes known as messenger bots). Not delivered in Wave 3 and won’t be in the future now that we know that Live Agents will soon be disappearing.
  • We should have the ability to interact with Live Agents via a gadget as well as Messenger. Ditto.
  • We should be able to update all the information that Microsoft has about us using a Live Agent or a Vista Sidebar gadget. Why should I have to go to a web page to do it? Ditto. Can you tell I’m disappointed about Live Agents disappearing?
  • Skydrive should be browsable from a Spaces Gadget or Sidebar gadget. Not delivered in Wave 3, although someone could build one using RSS feeds from SkyDrive.
  • Photo albums and MSN Video should be browsable from a Sidebar gadget. Not delivered in Wave 3.
  • Zune should have the ability to sync with photos on Live Spaces or videos on MSN Video. Not delivered in Wave 3 (although not really a Windows Live thing).
  • Gadgets from the Live Gallery currently run on Vista Sidebar or Live Spaces. I’d like to see them run on a Zune as well. Zune gadgets if you will. Not delivered in Wave 3 (although not really a Windows Live thing).
  • Zune should load content from Windows Media Center and vice versa. Not delivered in Wave 3 (although not really a Windows Live thing).
  • An online custom word list for Office and other applications that use a dictionary via the F7 key. I’ve previously mentioned this here. Not delivered in Wave 3 (although not really a Windows Live thing). I still have high hopes that this will happen in the future, it would be a great one for Office Live to take on.
  • Preferences for Vista (or whatever follows it) should be stored in the cloud so that if I have multiple O/S instances I can make them all behave the same way. Windows Home Server may have a role to play here. Not delivered in Windows Live Wave 3 but then its not really a Windows Live feature. I strongly suspect that Live Mesh will bring with it the capability to do this – here’s hoping the Windows team choose to leverage it.
  • Most stuff viewable via Zune Social should also be available via my Live Space as well. e.g. I want to publish my most-listened-to list on Live Spaces. I hear strong rumours that this is just around the corner.
  • If I’m watching a TV program or a film on Media Center I’d like that information to be made available on other Live properties such as Messenger. This is no different to Messenger having the ability to publish "What am I listening to now" via my messenger status. Similar things have already happened. For example if I start playing a game on my xBox my Messenger status gets updated accordingly.
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery should allow us to build HD View photos and Photosynth collections. Photosynth integration; check. Nothing for HD View as yet.
  • MSN Video should allow us to set more granular permissions on our personal videos than just "All" or "None". It should use Live Contacts. Nothing changed here, again, not really a Windows Live thing although granular sharing permissions have been introduced for Windows Live properties so there’s no reason why the same cannot occur for other Microsoft services such as MSN Video.
  • All sign-ins done using Windows Live Sign-in Assistant Not there yet. Zune Social, for example, doesn’t use the sign-in assistant.
  • Share Listas lists with a subset of my contacts rather than "all-or-nothing". I hear on the grapevine that Listas is disappearing so that won’t be happening.
  • List gadget on Live Spaces should use Listas lists Ditto.
  • All activity using a Live ID should be audited centrally so that we can view all activity using our Live ID. This would help to identify if our live ID has been compromised. The Wave 3 What’s New feed provides a lot of this.
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery currently enables us to easily upload to Live Spaces. I’d like to take that one step further – I’d like to automatically sync with photos on my Live Space. Not delivered in Wave 3 but I have high hopes that Live Mesh will provide this capability in the future.
  • All APIs should be built on an open standard, not a bastardised version of one that requires specialised code libraries. Done. Read: A Unified Standards-Based Protocols and Tooling Platform for Storage from Microsoft.
  • Delegate access to all our live data. Moves are already being made in this area through the use of the Live Contacts API and similar. I’d like to see all data made available via APIs. Not delivered as yet but plans are definitely afoot. Read: Live Services move into the Live Framework.
  • Popfly should give us the ability to build Zune gadgets (see above). Nothing to report in this area. Not really a Windows Live thing.
  • I’d like to see a workflow-based approach to building Live Agents. Perhaps Popfly could offer this at some point. Again, Live Agents are on the way out.
  • Give us a Skydrive API please Still nothing to report here.
  • Twitter has already cornered the market in answering "What am I doing now?". Nobody has yet answered "Where am I now?" though. GPS devices are beginning to proliferate so I hope to see a service like what I have described here sometime soon. Nothing to report but I have a strong suspicion that the Live Framework is going to offer something here.
  • I’d like an Online RSS reader with offline syncing. And the offline stuff shouldn’t live in a web browser. No sign of anything here from Windows Live but I’m pretty sure that an online/offline RSS reader will be delivered by someone as a Live Mesh application.
  • Live Calendar. nuff said. Its here, its very very good and it almost out of beta.
  • A competitor to PayPal. A payment service that I can use with my Live ID would be fantastic. It’d have to go some to be as good as PayPal though. No sign of anything here.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing the rumoured Live Groups as an upgrade to MSN Groups. I expect that this will integrate heavily with Live Spaces. Check. Live Groups is here and it promises great things.


Rather than look back on what I wanted a year ago perhaps its more useful to see what Microsoft themselves were promising for Windows Live Wave 3. Here’s an excerpt from a memo by Corporate VP Chris Jones in summer 2007:

“We will invest to deliver a seamless experience for customers who own a Windows PC. We have a unique opportunity to remove the seams between Windows, our applications, and our services. Windows Live Wave 3 will be designed so it feels like a natural extension of the Windows experience.

While we will target a seamless experience on Windows Vista, we will make a bet on the Windows 7 platform and experience, and create the best experience when connected with Windows 7. We will work with the Windows 7 team and be a first and best developer of solutions on the Windows 7 platform. Our experiences will be designed so when they are connected to Windows 7 they seamlessly extend the Windows experience, and we will work to follow the Windows 7 style guidelines for applications.”

Windows Live Wave 3 will be designed so it feels like a natural extension of the Windows experience. … We will ‘light up’ the Windows experience with Windows Live. … What’s the relationship between a Windows account and a Windows Live ID (Microsoft’s Web-authentication technology)? Should we have a LiveID connected to account settings?”

Anything in there regarding Windows 7 is still out in the future but do you think that they are delivering on those promises thus far with Windows Live Wave 3?


Windows Live Tags: clubhouse, story, wave 3, windows live, feedback

Written by Jamiet

December 7, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses

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  1. Hi Jamie. Good feedback. I agree with you that Windows Live Alerts should be used more these days. For example, our Dutch police is even using the service to find missing children asap, so it’s sad to see that the creators aren’t interested in that same service.The idea to share files on messenger through Windows Live Messenger is an good idea, but how would it exactly work? A private folder, that when sending, will be public to that person… Public for that day, or from now on? Or only public folders? What kind of access will he get, should he be able to put files in it too? And will people understand that it’s an extra option, not a replacement of the way to share files between eachother? I think lots of that info, steps, things like that should be places very carefully, since it might be even replaced by Live Mesh or similar apps.Having your OS settings in the cloud sounds cool. I think this should be possible within the next few years. However, they must make sure that an hacker, or virus on one of those PC’s cannot break all your pc’s. And I think it would bring tons of issues regarding different hardware/software, and antivirus software blocking or changing things you don’t know, or are incompatible with the settings/virusscanner on your computer. (Not that u need such scanner with vista, but people still run it)Windows Live PayPal would be great, I totally agree. Could be a great way to connect with Microsoft Points that are used on marketplace and XBOX, and maybe in AdCenter. But PayPal already works great, and Microsoft is such a big company with to many hackers, will people trust them to hold or manage their money? I know PayPal is a big target too and I trust that Microsoft can build much better security, but they would be a much bigger target. To big I think when it goes about my money…This wave 3 brought us amazing things, and maked everything a lot closer to just one service. I still think that the Search team should be more intergrated, and the service itself needs more promotion, even TV commercials, since the Windows Live name is still unkown. Sure people are using it, but just because of such link. Not because they read, heared or talked about it.What I would like most is an explorer plugin that makes skydrive integrated with my computer hard drive, like some tools do with an competitor. Besides that, I think the 50MB file limit is far to low, and the live team needs to work on the SPAM those service are being filled with these days, as far as I heard from news sources.I love Skydrive, and it’s space. But I think it’s to confusing looking at an similar online store app, Windows Live Mesh. Well, maybe I don’t really care, since all MB’s i’m able to upload are very welcome, I think those two apps need to be combined. Maybe with an skydrive shortcut in Mesh? If I experience an service that makes my offline and live experience together? Yes! I recently started to use Windows Live Custom domains, wich isn’t that updated in this wave, but brings my daily emailing, tasking and the calendar both online as in my applications whereever I am, at any time of the year. My documents, my pictures, my calendar, my tasks, my backups, my emails, everything is in the cloud these days, so at work, I still can access anything from home, without having to run my pc all day!The Windows Live Team did an amazing job, and i’m sure they will take your feedback in consideration for Wave 4


    December 7, 2008 at 8:56 pm

  2. Just a note – a leaked memo from Summer of 2007 shouldn’t have much standing as so many things change in a year. It’s confusing here because you analyze Windows Live as a whole then throw that memo thing in at the end and mention Windows 7 – doesn’t really make sense with your overall post. That being said – I think they are delivering exactly what needs to be done for Windows Live. I think the latest releases for Windows Live lays the ground work for awesome things to come (including some of what you mention above). It will most likely be easier to build off of what we have today – allowing focus to be delivering excellent features etc. A lot of your "wants" make no sense to me – like why should Microsoft do a competitor to PayPal? They had Windows Live Expo but shut it down which was like an Ebay. I think the overall goal is to make Windows Live stand on its own. I think integration is key to Windows Live. Instead of doing a PayPal competitor why not look for PayPal integration with Windows Live? And I don’t follow you on the Windows Live Agents thing… how would having that make my Windows Live experience better? Was anyone even using Windows Live Agents? I think based on this post – it’s safe to say Windows Live did not deliver for you which is unfortunate. One thing to keep in mind is its easy for us to want new features and want them now however it takes time to build something especially to the scale of Windows Live where millions of consumers will be using it every single day.


    December 7, 2008 at 9:04 pm

  3. Brandon,I think you’re maybe taking this a bit too seriously. I’m very very happy with Windows Live – this isa just a light-hearted look back at something I wrote over a year ago."One thing to keep in mind is its easy for us to want new features and want them now however it takes time to build something especially to the scale of Windows Live where millions of consumers will be using it every single day. "I completly agree. I seem to spend my life defending Microsoft for that very reason.-Jamie-Jamie


    December 7, 2008 at 9:20 pm

  4. I, too, am getting a lot of feedback from friends who still prefer email as a method of notification. Unless Windows Live Home is your homepage, or a habit to visit — you really don’t have any connection to what is going on with your contacts. Sure there is Messenger, and that tie will improve here this week. I think using Windows Live Alerts is a great stop-gap measure to keep people more informed as to their network’s activities. The question then becomes — is Windows Live Alerts as a service up to that task? Perhaps that is why it didn’t make the cut this go ’round


    December 7, 2008 at 9:59 pm

  5. Should be in our services a specific search provider of Photos, Events, Groups and Spaces.Search on Windows Live works only for People. Myspace has a search provider about groups, events, applications, Blog and other.Search provider is essential for activity in a Social Networking.Myspace and Facebook are better than Windows Live.1 year for improving or sleeping?Many users are going away from ours services and Microsoft sleeps.I don’t like this release.


    December 7, 2008 at 11:32 pm

  6. "Nothing for HD View as yet. "Actually HD View is pretty much there now. In the same way that Photosynth and Autocollage are integrated, so is Microsoft ICE. ICE will generate an HD View or a Deep Zoom from a panoramic set of images.


    December 8, 2008 at 3:41 am

  7. I’m very happy with Wave 3 so far, so I’m not too concerned with future releases yet! I don’t think the PayPal competitor is such a good idea. The Windows Live ID gets targeted by hackers way too much, so I’d be pretty hesitant to have a PayPal type account.


    December 9, 2008 at 4:28 am

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