What’s next in Windows Live Wave 4?
Windows Live Wave 3 is now all but with us (Windows Live Essentials, Hotmail and Calendar are the only ones left to get to full release) and in line with my reputation for writing blogs that are long on wishful thinking but short on fact my thoughts have already started turning to what might be delivered in Windows Live Wave 4. That’s not as ridiculous a thing to be doing as it may seem as I’m sure the Windows Live team are currently heavily into planning for the next release so what better time to get some ideas in front of them.
With wave 4 in mind, I spotted some comments on the Skydrive team’s blog a few months ago (prior to wave 3) that quite interested me. Here are those comments:
I also thing Live products need more unity. There is Office Live, Live Mesh and Skydrive. It would be great if all of them were connected so that we can keep all of our files in one cloud-place.
I really like SkyDrive. But it’s SO DISJOINTED.
We got FolderShare. Which is separate, and even doesn’t use LiveID.
We got Office Live, Live Mesh, and SkyDrive.
And, btw, Windows Home Server web access.
All these things provide some storage. And all of them are separate.
Please, place someone to overlook the UX of the whole online services. Because the ideas are great, but the details spoil that all.
Some of those things have been/will be delivered in wave 3 (e.g. Foldershare using LiveID, UX improvements) but I think the opinion expressed (and its one that I share) is that all the various offerings from Microsoft need to become more unified; progress was definitely made in Wave 3 but more needs to be done. Of course, a lot of this isn’t down to the Windows Live team but in Wave 3 a platform has been enhanced which can be leveraged by other teams; one of the most obvious examples of this is the What’s New feed that was chiefly architected by Rob Dolin and Dare Obasanjo and which Rob has been diligently blogging about over the past few weeks. I expect that Zune Social and XBox Live will soon be posting items into our What’s New feed and I wouldn’t be surprised to see organisations like Office Live, Live Search and Windows Home Server doing the same thing before long.
Similarly I agree with the above comment that there are too many places in which we can keep files right now and I believe that that will be alleviated somewhat in wave 4 by leveraging a lot of what Live Mesh is going to deliver. Its no secret (although its not well understood) that the service at http://www.mesh.com today is the tip of the iceberg in terms of capabilities that Live Mesh will eventually provide and I suspect that synchronisation of files across multiple services will be a feature that will be delivered on top of the Live Mesh platform. For example, imagine if I didn’t have to manually upload photos from Windows Live Photo Gallery into http://photos.live.com, I could just opt for them to end up there automatically – that’s the type of functionality that Live Mesh might provide. In fact if I had to take a stab at what the big theme for Windows Live Wave 4 will be it would be just that – leverage, integrate with and unify across Live Mesh.
The ultimate attention-grabbing attempt at unification would be if Windows Live Wave 4, Live Mesh and Windows 7 were all released together and I wouldn’t mind betting that that might happen. Ballmer would love that wouldn’t he?
That’s what I think *might* happen in wave 4. My next post will be a list of my “wants” for wave 4, stuff that I want to see the Windows Live team deliver. Watch this space.