Today, in addition to the new Live Photos service, the Windows Live team also announced a new version of Windows Live which aggregates all your activities from across the Windows Live network, including your Hotmail/Windows Live Mail, Spaces, Photos, Groups, SkyDrive, Contacts, and more. From one customizable dashboard, you can easily see, at a glance, what’s new in your network.
The New Windows Live Homepage
Besides displaying your Windows Live inbox on the homepage, there are also shortcuts to perform frequently used actions on other Live services. For example, with one click you can create a new create, add a contact, create a new photo album, write a blog post, and more.
Below this information, you can also see what’s new with your Windows Live contacts in a new “What’s New in Your Network” activity stream. Here, you’ll see a stream of updates about your friends’ activity, including status updates, new photos, new comments, new blog activities, and more.
You can customize the profile pics that display at the top right of your homepage. Add more than two photos, and the photos will slowly scroll to display the others every few seconds. You can also have the local weather show on the top left, skin the page with one of several themes and configure the page layout as well as other options.
New Windows Live Profiles
One of the main features of this new Windows Live dashboard is the new Windows Live Profile page. On your profile, you can configure the usual information – fill out an “About Me” section, your email address, etc. However, what’s new is the “Favorite Things” section, which lets you add your favorite movies, music, and books.
You can also link your Windows Live profile to your accounts across the social web to be included into your personal activity stream, which is then included on your friends’ homepages similar to Facebook’s News Feed. At the moment, the web activities you can add include your blog (or any site that supports standard RSS), iLike, Twitter, a WordPress blog, Yelp, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora, Photobucket, and, of course, all the activities that take place across the Windows Live network.
Overall, the new version of Windows Live is great upgrade for Windows Live users as it’s not just another start page, but a personalized and socialized hub for all your activities across the web.
The service will be available in the coming weeks. The client applications, called Windows Live Essentials, will come out of beta after the web services release. Both will be available at www.windowslive.com.