Windows Live Photo Gallery Wave3 Beta was released few days back along with other Windows Live apps. Let us see what are the new features in this new version of Photo Gallery.
New user interface : If you have been using Windows Live Photo Gallery earlier, the first change you’ll notice is the User Interface. Toolbar is more cleaner and some buttons like rotate, delete are at bottom right. Overall now it gets a Simpler look. You can adjust the Navigation Pane (located on left side) or completely close it by dragging the separator near the vertical scroll bar. If all folders etc. in the Navigation Pane are collapsed then you’ll not get the vertical scroll bar, So just move the mouse around the navigation pane to view the separator which can be adjusted to alter size of Navigation pane or double clicked to completely close the Navigation pane.
Also you can close the Info pane (situated on top right) by clicking the ‘Close button’ or the ‘Info’ button situated on the toolbar. Now to get back the Info pane, you can click the ‘Info’ button again. I have seen many people confused in getting back the Info pane when closed using ‘Close’ button.
And in the Info Pane you can adjust the Information section (situated on bottom right) by adjusting the separator or you can collapse it completely by clicking on the blue arrow which gets visible when mouse is moved over that separator.
People tagging : This is the feature, I like most. Whenever in a photo , people’s faces are there , Photo Gallery detects the face and puts a square around it so that you can tag that person by entering the name of that person or if you are signed in to Photo Gallery then you will also be provided with your WL Messenger and WL Mail Contact list in the form of drop down appearing next to person’s face.
For me this is the best feature, as once you have people tagged all your photos, you can get pictures listed according to person. And while viewing the photo, when you pass mouse over a face, it will display the name of the person.
Best thing is, these people tags are saved into the photo. So if you copy these photos to another Computer , these tags remain with the photos.
I hope to see this feature improve more as it recognizes the faces every time when its facing straight, but it misses when the faces are looking sideways. In such cases you have to manually recognize and tag them by clicking on ‘Add People tag’.
More options for Fixing your photos : Already there were great fixing options provided in the earlier version. Now some more options have been added. Sometimes your photos are not straight and are tilted because of wrongly holding the camera. So for such photos there’s a ‘Straighten photo’ option provided. This is also very useful addition.
Check the Photos shared by your friends : As I said, when you are signed in to Photo Gallery, it also lists persons from your contact list. So when you click on these persons, you can view the photos shared by them right in the Photo Gallery.
Share metadata you want to share : When you share your photos, you can restrict what metadata you want to show by using the File > Options > Publish.
Make a Movie : Now you also have the option of making a movie of your photos and clips. (This option available only in Windows Vista, not in Windows XP). As you know Windows Live has released WL Movie Maker (only for Vista) also as a part of Windows Live Wave3 Beta Suite.
New SDK for Publishing plug-ins : Developers now have a framework to develop publishing plug-ins for Windows Live Photo Gallery. This will allow Community to build plug-ins for any sharing service. The new SDK will let developers create plug-ins for users, which when installed, will appear right on the Publish menu. You can check for the plug-ins available and new ones added by clicking on ‘Add a plug-in…’ option.
As you can see I have installed ‘Publish on Picasa Web Albums’ plug-in which is available in the Publish option.
Integration with Photosynth, AutoCollage, Pro Photo Tools and other software : The new Photo Gallery provides integration with PhotoSynth, AutoCollage 2008, Pro Photo Tools, Image Composite Editor (ICE) and other Photo related software. You’ll get these programs in the Extras Menu after you install them . So the Extras menu provides the entry point for these programs. Though this may not be the best integration , I am sure it will improve.
(btw if you haven’t tried these tools , you must try them.All are Free tools from Microsoft)
These are the new features in the Windows Live Photo Gallery Wave 3 Beta. I am enjoying these new features. I am sure Windows Live Photo Gallery will continue to improve and you can see more new features being added and much improved in the future version. If you haven’t yet tried it , do it now . Get it from download.live.com. And if you want any other feature or you don’t like a particular feature , you can send feedback, this option is also built into the Photo gallery ‘Help’ menu.