Windows Live

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Windows Live is the collective brand name for a set of services and software products from Microsoft. A majority of these services are Web applications, accessible from a browser, but there are also client-side binary applications that require installation on a user's PC. There are three ways in which Windows Live services are offered: Windows Live Essentials applications, web services, and mobile services.[1]

Windows Live was first announced on November 1, 2005. In its initial release, several Windows Live properties were rebranded and enhanced from Microsoft's MSN set of products and services. However, MSN still exists alongside Windows Live as a means of delivering programmed content (as opposed to customized content and communications).[2] Although the new branding might suggest closer technical ties to the Microsoft Windows operating system and services, the two are available separately. Microsoft said that Windows Live "is a way to extend the Windows user experience".[3] Windows Vista provides a link in its user interface to download Windows Live Messenger, and Windows 7 will see the removal of applications such as Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker and replaced with the Windows Live Essentials suite, a software that allows the downloading and installation of similar offerings from Windows Live.[4] Some web-based Windows Live services such as Windows Live SkyDrive are available outside of Windows, however these services are integrated closely with the Windows Live Essentials suite of applications.

Besides Windows Live, which is mainly aimed at individuals[2], there are some other Web properties from Microsoft that are branded as "Live": Microsoft Office Live for small businesses, the Xbox Live multiplayer gaming and content delivery system for Xbox and Xbox 360, and the Games for Windows - LIVE multiplayer gaming service for Microsoft Windows. On January 23, 2009, Microsoft announced that Office Live services will be converged into Windows Live services.[5]


Windows Live services

Service Website Description Status
Windows Live Account The service for updating your Windows Live identity and managing your Windows Live relationship Final
Windows Live Admin Center Provides e-mail hosting for web site owners Final
Windows Live Agents Interactive chatterbots through Windows Live Messenger that allow users to get more information about specific topics Discontinued (30 June 2009)
Windows Live Alerts Send information updates to your email inbox, mobile device or Messenger Final
Windows Live Barcode 2D barcodes that can be used to store information or link to the mobile web Discontinued
Windows Live Betas Website listing Windows Live beta services available for download Discontinued (17 September 2008)
Windows Live Calendar Time management service which allow users to organize appointments, schedule meetings, set reminders, and share their calendar events Final
Windows Live Call Part of Windows Live Messenger Final
Windows Live Essentials A suite of Windows Live software applications. Essentials are installed via a single installer, which allows users to select and install only the specific applications they wish. Final
Windows Live Events Manage and plan different types of events and share them with others using Windows Live Calendar, Spaces and Alerts Discontinued (3 September 2009)
Windows Live Expo Online classifieds Discontinued (31 July 2008)
Windows Live Family Safety Parental Controls similar to Windows Vista's Family Safety feature Final
Windows Live Favorites Now part of Windows Live SkyDrive
Synchronizes your favorites between computers and lets you share favorites
Discontinued (14 April 2009)
Windows Live FrameIt Extends the functionality of digital photo frame devices, allowing users to customise the content delivery from multiple sources such as RSS feeds Beta
Windows Live Gallery A center for collections of developers' add-ons for Windows Live products Final
Windows Live Groups Enable users to create their social groups for sharing, discussion and coordination Final
Windows Live Help Community Collection of forums and message boards to communicate with other users of Windows Live products Discontinued (6 June 2008)
Windows Live Home Provides a central location to access Windows Live services, monitor status information, and navigate to other Windows Live sites and services Final
Windows Live Hotmail Free webmail service using AJAX technology featuring email, contacts and calendar services Final
Windows Live ID Works seamlessly with Windows Live services and allowing multiple sign-ins with different accounts Final
Windows Live Mail Desktop mail client designed to succeed Outlook Express on Windows XP and Windows Mail on Windows Vista, with full RSS support Final
Windows Live Messenger Instant messaging, personal file sharing and outgoing Voice over IP client Final
Windows Live Movie Maker Video editing software similar to Windows Movie Maker with additional enhancements that makes home video editing easier Final
Windows Live OneCare Rebranded as Microsoft Security Essentials
Computer Security Service. Features its own Anti-Virus program, back-up utility, and a software firewall.
Discontinued (30 June 2009)
Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner Free PC scanning and health service to help delete viruses and other threats Discontinued (30 June 2009)
Windows Live People The contact book service which allows users to keep track and synchronize their contact's information Final
Windows Live Personalized Experience An all-in-one home page featuring a customisable RSS aggregator, gadgets and search tools Discontinued (15 March 2010)
Windows Live Photo Gallery Similar to Windows Photo Gallery with additional enhancements that will make posting photos to Windows Live Spaces and Soapbox easier Final
Windows Live Photos Photo storage service which allows users to upload and share their personal albums and photographs with other Windows Live users Final
Windows Live Profile Allow users to manage their profile information and displays information about the particular user, their recent activities, and their relationship with other Windows Live users Final
Windows Live QnA Rebranded as Live Search QnA then subsequently MSN QnA Discontinued (21 May 2009)
Windows Live Search Center Rebranded as Windows Search 4 Discontinued (12 December 2006)
Windows Live Shopping Rebranded as MSN Shopping then subsequently Bing Shopping Discontinued (20 February 2007)
Windows Live SkyDrive Password-protected online file storage and sharing, includes Windows Live Photos and Office Web Apps for management of photos and Office documents Final
Windows Live Spaces AJAX based version social networking, blogging, and photo sharing site Final
Windows Live Sync File sharing and synchronization service acquired by Microsoft and now branded as a Windows Live service Final
Windows Live Toolbar A toolbar which adds itself to Windows Internet Explorer, allowing quick access to a user's Windows Live Spaces, Hotmail, Favorites and Live Search from a button on the toolbar Final
Windows Live TV An additional program for Windows Media Center which will provide access to Windows Live Spaces, Messenger, and Call on large-screen monitors or TVs Discontinued (24 June 2008)
Windows Live Video Messages Combines digital video with e-mail into a service that allows all webcam users to create, send, and receive video messages to anyone in their contact list, even when they are offline Beta
Windows Live Web Messenger Now part of Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live People
Online version of Windows Live Messenger which allow users to talk online and in real-time with others using the .NET Messenger Service from within a web browser.
Discontinued (30 October 2008)
Windows Live WiFi Center Allow users to search for wireless networks that are available and displays information about them Discontinued (16 February 2007)
Windows Live WiFi Hotspot Locator Rebranded as MSN WiFi Hotspots Discontinued (16 February 2007)
Windows Live Writer Desktop blog publishing tool Final

Mobile services

Window Live for mobile are a set of customised Windows Live services specifically created for mobile devices. It is offered via three channels - through Client-based (for Windows Mobile and other supported mobile devices such as Nokia phones), Web-based (for WAP or GPRS-enabled mobile web browsers), or SMS-based services.[6]

Mobile Service Client Web SMS Website Description Development Stage
Windows Live Calendar Mobile File:B-check.svg SMS service for users to query today and tomorrow's appointments in their Windows Live Calendar Final
Windows Live Home Mobile File:B-check.svg Displays a list of What's New feeds of your contacts, similar to Windows Live Home but targets mobile devices Final
Windows Live Hotmail Mobile File:B-check.svg File:B-check.svg File:B-check.svg Web- and client-based version of Windows Live Hotmail that targets mobile devices, and allow new email alerts via SMS Final
Windows Live Messenger Mobile File:B-check.svg File:B-check.svg File:B-check.svg Web- and client-based version of Windows Live Messenger that is designed for mobile devices, and allow users to send instant messages via SMS Final
Windows Live Photos Mobile File:B-check.svg File:B-check.svg Web-based version of Windows Live Photos designed for mobile devices for photo viewing and uploading. Client-based version allows upload of photos directly from a mobile phone camera Final
Windows Live Profile Mobile File:B-check.svg View and update user's own Windows Live Profile information using a mobile device Final
Windows Live People Mobile File:B-check.svg File:B-check.svg File:B-check.svg Web-based version of Windows Live People designed for mobile devices for access to contact information. Client-based version allows integration of the Windows Live contact list with the mobile device's address book. Also allow users to query contact information via SMS Final
Windows Live Spaces Mobile File:B-check.svg A customized version of Windows Live Spaces that targets mobile devices Final
Live Mesh Mobile File:B-check.svg File:B-check.svg Web-based version of the Live Mesh webpage that is designed for mobile devices. The client-based version allow instant synchronisation of photos, videos and documents that resides on the Windows Mobile device Beta

Live Mesh

Live Desktop under Live Mesh

Live Mesh is a software as a service platform released on April 23, 2008 that enables PCs and other devices to connect with each other through the internet. Live Mesh is part of Live Services, one of the building blocks of Microsoft's Azure Services Platform - a "cloud" platform hosted at Microsoft data centers.[7] Live Mesh allows applications, people, and devices to be synchronized across multiple devices using FeedSync and cloud computing technologies. It is designed to give developers the ability to easily develop and scale up applications that can run on a wide variety of devices. Live Mesh currently consists of:

  • Mesh Operating Environment - software component that manages the synchronization relationships between devices and data
  • Live Desktop - online cloud storage service that allows synchronized folders to be accessible via a website
  • Live Mesh Remote Desktop - software that allow users to remotely connect and manage to any of the devices in a synchronization relationship
  • Live Framework - a REST-based application programming interface for accessing the Live Mesh services over HTTP

Features and functionalities of Live Mesh are expected to be integrated into the Windows Live "Wave 4" release.[8] The Windows Live, Live Services Platform, and Live Mesh teams was merged into a single Windows Live team in January 2009.[9]

Search services

Bing, a replacement of the search engine Live Search, was originally named Windows Live Search (and MSN Search prior to that) and was once part of the Windows Live family of services. Windows Live Search once occupied the homepage of, the domain for all Windows Live services. However, on 2007-03-21, Microsoft decided to separate its search developments from its Windows Live services family, forming part of the Live Search and Ad Platform. As part of this reorganization, the new search brand, Live Search, was consolidated with Microsoft adCenter, a part of Microsoft's Platform and Systems division.[10] However, Microsoft recognised that there was a brand issue as the word "Live" continued to remain in the brand.[11] As an effort to create a new identity for Microsoft's search services, on 2009-06-03, Live Search was officially rebranded as Bing.[12]

Developer services

Live Services is a development center and supplier of software development kits (SDKs) for the Windows Live Platform that provides developers with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), documentation and sample codes for several Windows Live services. It also provides information on getting started with developing for Windows Live services, access to community areas and relevant blogs, and announcements of future releases and innovations.

Additionally, Live Services also includes Windows Live Quick Applications, which provides customizable out-of-the box solutions and source codes for specific web scenarios using Windows Live services.

Microsoft Live Labs

Microsoft Live Labs is a partnership between MSN and Microsoft Research that focuses on applied research for Internet products and services at Microsoft.

Live Labs are headed by Dr. Gary William Flake, who prior to joining Microsoft was a principal scientist at Yahoo! Research Lab and former head of research at the Web portal's Overture Services division.

Live Labs' focus is on applied research and practical applications of computer science areas including natural language processing, machine learning, information retrieval, data mining, computational linguistics, distributed computing, etc.[13]

Service Website Description Status
Deepfish Allow users to display and zoom into web contents on their Windows Mobile devices similar to the desktop format without requiring additional work by the site author Discontinued
Entity Extraction Using machine learning to identify meaningful text in documents and turn the unstructured web into a rich set of tagged documents Discontinued
Listas Allow users to create and share lists (text, images, links, RSS feeds, etc.) Discontinued
Pivot Allows users to interact with and search large amounts of data. Based on DeepZoom and Seadragon technologies.
Photosynth Displays a large collection of photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space.
Social Streams Conducts data mining on social media including blogs, newsgroups and websites, and allows users to see whether the stories are increasing or decreasing in popularity and frequency at a glance using graphs showing the real time movement of the number of mentions of both the people and the places mentioned in the highlighted story Discontinued
Thumbtack Allow users to collect contents across different websites and put it into a Thumbtack collection. This collection can then be shared with others or kept private. Gadgets in Thumbtack allows users to compare items in the collection and arrange them according to their needs. The service also utilizes machine learning and natural language techniques to extract information and display them in these gadgets in a meaningful way. Discontinued
Relay Service Allow users to expose a Windows Communication Foundation based service to the Internet from behind a firewall or NAT Discontinued
Seadragon Smooth, seamless browsing of vast quantities of visual information, on wall sized diplays or mobile devices, regardless of the amount of data.
Security Token Service Online identity management service that provides an Information Card that enables offloading authentication functions, irrespective of the agent signing in is a user logging-in to web sites and services or a site or service owner to authenticate users. Requires an Information Card compliant store and identity selector to use Discontinued
Volta Developer toolset that enables multi-tier web applications by splitting it into different client and server parts Discontinued
Web Sandbox Provides website builders a virtualization platform to test the Sandbox and find out whether it prevents the attacks web users most concerned about Discontinued


Blue Vapor / Flair

Most original Windows Live applications and services used a visual theme known as Blue Vapor or Flair. This theme no longer exists on any of the current Windows Live properties. An example is shown below:

File:Windows Live Header old.png

Windows Live Wave 2

With the public beta release of the Windows Live Wave 2 Suite[14] ("Wave" refers to the group or wave of products to be released), a new visual theme was released to enable the Aero transparency effect in Windows Vista.[15] This theme remains in use on sites such as Windows Live Gallery. An example is shown below:

File:Windows Live Header.png

Windows Live Wave 3

Microsoft released a set of new themes for their Windows Live Wave 3 services which allows users to customize their pages on Windows Live using a set of pre-selected background pictures. Several of these themes are dynamic and will change according to the time of day and the current weather condition of the user.[16] It is currently implemented in all but a few Windows Live services. An example is shown below:

File:Windows Live Wave 3 Header.png

Windows Live Wave 4

In addition to the themes provided in Windows Live Wave 3, the release of Windows Live Wave 4 will add additional themes for users to customise their pages on Windows Live, with several dynamic themes that changes according to the time of day and weather conditions at the user's location. Several of these newly added themes are expected to be similar to wallpapers originating from Windows 7.[17] In addition, the Windows Live Wave 4 header will feature a reorganised dynamic navigation menu which displays the number of the user's current online contacts and the number of unread e-mails[18], as well as an in-built Windows Live Web Messenger service allowing users to connect to the .NET Messenger Service and chat with their online contacts while browsing any Windows Live properties using a web browser.[19]

Windows Live Butterfly

The Windows Live Butterfly awards program (formerly the MSN Butterfly program) was a program whose members were given the benefit of new Microsoft software to test before the beta releases went public and they were in direct contact with the program managers for Windows Live products.

Microsoft had initiated the Windows Live Butterfly program in order to recognize the contributions made by exemplary beta testers. Prospective 'butterflies' were selected by the Windows Live product team and were nominated for a term of one year, after which they could be renominated.[20]

The Windows Live Butterfly program was closed in June 2009.

See also


  1. "Windows Live Wave 3 Reviewers Guide". Microsoft PressPass. 2008-11-12. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Microsoft Previews New Windows Live and Office Live Services (press release)". Microsoft PressPass. 2005-11-01. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  3. Thurrott, Paul (2006-01-18). "Windows Live Preview". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  4. ce/archive/2008/10/28/the-complete-windows-experience-windows-7-windows-live.aspx "The Complete Windows Experience – Windows 7 + Windows Live". The Windows Blog. 2008-10-28. ce/archive/2008/10/28/the-complete-windows-experience-windows-7-windows-live.aspx. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  5. "Looking ahead and bringing you even more". Office Live Workspace Team Blog. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  6. "Windows Live for mobile Wave 3 – take your social life on the go". 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  7. "Live Mesh Turns Car into Mobile Computing Platform". Microsoft PressPass. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  8. "David Treadwell at PDC: Live Mesh to join Windows Live". 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  9. "Live Mesh team joins Windows/Windows Live org". 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  10. Foley, Mary Jo (2007-03-21). "Microsoft severs Live Search from the rest of the Windows Live family". ZDNet: All About Microsoft. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  11. Keynote with Kevin Johnson at Microsoft
  13. "The Live Labs Manifesto". Microsoft Live Labs. 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  14. "Windows Live 2.0 Release Notes". Microsoft. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  15. "The Death of Flair - Windows Live's New Look". 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  16. "Windows Live Wave 3: New Header UI". 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  17. "Recapping the rumors: what we “know” about Wave 4". 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  18. "More information about Windows Live Wave 4’s dynamic header". 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  19. "A new wave, a new look: First look at the Windows Live Wave 4 header". 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  20. Excerpt of Windows Live Butterfly acceptance e-mail from Windows Live Beta Team

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