I started with getting into Live Folders first, because the invite said there was limited availability for Windows Live Folders and sign up was available only for few hours on 27th June. Luckily I could sign up without any problem.
Windows Live Folders was already in the news , when it briefly popped up earlier in the Month of May. Its an online file storage service which provides 500MB of free online storage with 50MB individual upload file size limit and can be accessed from any computer with Internet access. You can create personal folders, shared folders and Public folders and can control the access to each folder.
And ones personal folders are protected with his Live id and the folders that are shared has to be accessed with their Live id who wants to access it.
Using Shared folders one can easily collaborate with coworkers, and we can decide how much control each person has over each shared folder. Some can just read while others can add and delete files.
With public folders, anyone on the Internet can view your files, but they can't change it. Each folder and file has its own web address.
Overall its a nice service and will be fully utilised by its users as its very useful. And it may be provided with more features in future. Some of them which I may like to see are thumbnail view of uploaded picture files, ability to sync Live folders with local folders, integration with Windows desktop and also facility to save Office documents directly to Live folders, so an addon for office for implementing this feature can be provided.
Now coming to the next cool thing, Windows Live Photo Gallery which users of Vista may already be familiar with, is provided with some more features. WL PhotoGallery beta can also be installed on Windows XP SP2.
Also image editing features are vastly improved with features like Panoramic stitch, histogram. There's also improved tagging and organising. One can publish the Photos directly to Windows Live Spaces.
Also the Photo Import tool has been improved a lot, which now groups all photos taken from digital camera by date and time. This is very convenient.
After installing on XP machine, one can see that Movie maker integration as seen in Photo Gallery installed on Vista is not present, so Make movie option is not present for the XP version.
The option of "Create Panoramic Stitch..." provided which as the name suggests stitches overlapping photos to create a single stitched photo. Useful for creating long panoramic view such as city's skyline which can not be captured in single shot. And this option many of you using Digital cameras might have come across in the Software provided with the cameras. Anyway when I tried this option from Photo gallery, it did an amazingly near perfect job creating a stitched photo. This can also be used for creating sort of 360 deg. view of a Hall/room with some effort. So a very nice addition.
So I could say the new Windows Live Photo gallery provides lots of options for managing and fixing your Photos and options which you may not find in basic image editor. One can expect some more refinement of features in the future.