Windows Live Essentials beta released, why businesses should care

Although Microsoft announced the beta for its new-and-improved Windows Live services on December 2, it took Redmond a few more weeks to make good on that announcement. As of yesterday, the beta was honest-to-goodness generally released, reports the blog. Windows Live is Microsoft's attempt to seamlessly marry its Office desktop applications with its online services. Today, Microsoft also released an overview of Live Services for the enterprise and developer on its Live Financial Services Developer/Platform blog.

Windows Live Essentials includes Messenger, Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Toolbar and Family Safety. Live users will find Windows Live People ready to go as well. This is an improved address book for all contacts across Hotmail, Messenger, Spaces friends and Groups.

Wave 3 also gives the user the option to install additional programs such as the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector (a tool for managing Windows Live Hotmail e-mail and contacts from within Outlook), Office Live Add-in (a tool that allows users to access Live services -- known as "workspaces" -- from within Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It supports both IE and Firefox) and Microsoft Silverlight (Microsoft's rich-media alternative to Adobe Flash).   The site reports:

"The installer will let you choose which ones you want to install, nobody forces you to install them all. Dependencies will be installed automatically and only for those applications you choose. Like if you choose to install Photo Gallery, Windows Live Sync will be installed along with it. Of course you can uninstall this manually later but that will mean you won’t have the full features."

If you want to examine how Windows Live can fit into a corporate back office application strategy, a newly released white paper, Live Framework and why should you care?, may be the help you need. Written for programmers, the white paper covers the following topics:

  • From My Computer to My Mesh
  • For what scenarios is the Live Framework relevant?
  • What problems does the Live Framework help you solve?
  • What is a cloud / client symmetric programming model?
  • How do application developers benefit from the Live Framework?
  • What is the programming model exposed by the Live Framework?
  • What application types are supported by the Live Framework?
  • What are the different flavors of Live Operating Environment available today?
  • Do I need the Client Live Operating Environment for creating client side applications?
  • What is the Live Framework Resource Model? How can applications interact with it?
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