Windows Live Wave 4 is hitting the streets soon and it looks to be a significant improvement over the
The new(ish) “ribbon interface” makes life much easier, heightens productivity and gives the UI a general, cleaner and logical feel while not being too intrusive or overbearing (OneNote is a culprit of this). And the Windows Phone 7 Series look and feel popping up in some places is also a refreshing change too.
This is just going to be a quick overview of the new Beta as I’m sure many things will change between now and the final release. When the suite has been a little more finalized I’m sure we’ll go into more detail of the applications then.
Lets start the screenshots with the installation. The installation wizard is much cleaner and nicer looking that it’s predecessor.
We have a couple of new additions to the installation in Wave 4. Notably; Companion and Bing Bar. We’ll talk more about those later .
Double clicking the WLE launcher starts the familiar splash screen.
I always recommend doing a ‘custom install’.
Uncheck any applications you don’t want, go ahead and click install. Microsoft have been quite sneaky here with their toolbar I think. We’ll see if it’s still the same in the final! Also, Photo Gallery and Movie Maker are now bundled together… why isn’t the icon consistent with the rest??
Installation progress window. As informative as ever.
Once the installation has finished you’ll be asked to login with your Windows Live ID.
Once you’ve logged it it’ll take you to this frankly, awkward overview of your account.
This certainly needs some work.
Windows Live Messenger
The login screen to WLM hasn’t changed much. But the IM interface certainly has a Windows Mobile 7 look and feel about it.
You can choose whether to see your social highlights or your friends list once logged in.
Of course the necessary ads are still there and the boring slogan “that you care most about” is never too far away!
It looks like we’ll also have the ability to connect other social networking accounts with WLM.
Windows Live Writer
WLW has undergone some pretty nifty changes too, the ribbon toolbar which Office 2010 also sports, is integrated nicely with the new Wave 4 Suite. Options and settings that were otherwise slightly hidden or out-of-the-way are now right in front of you! For those of you who are not keen on the ribbon, there is a way of minimizing it.
The Blog Setup Wizard is exactly the same as the current version.
Here’s a shot of WLW with the Home tab activated.
The Insert tab.
The Blog Account tab
And without the ribbon.
Insert a picture and the Picture Tools & Format tab appear.
A nice new feature is the ability to crop images and get a live preview.
Unfortunately, the live preview isn’t everywhere, for example, hovering over the font size doesn’t show the preview.
Windows Live Photo Gallery
The Photo Gallery seems to be the least finished of all the applications.
As you’ll see in the shots, a lot of icons haven’t been decided upon and we have some horrid orange rings.
Not too much seems to have changed, all the features in the old version are still here plus a few more.
The Home Tab:
Create Tab: A couple of interesting features to note here; Panaroma and Photo Fuse.
The Storytelling section makes it even easier to share “the things you care most about!”
And the View Tab: Click the Info pane button and yes, you’ve got it, an Info pane shows up displaying heaps of information about the selected image.
The usual edit tools:
Windows Live Movie Maker
In this early Beta, Windows Live Movie Maker is far from functional.
I was unable to get a video to work, therefore the shots here a very limited.
Video Tools – Edit:
Text Tools – Format:
Windows Live Mail
I’m loving the look of Windows Live Mail so far, it looks as if it’s come a long way since the previous version.
It almost makes me wonder why I have Outlook installed!
I was also unable to get the Windows Live Family Safety to work, also Windows Live Sync and Windows Live ID was unable to login.
The Microsoft Default manager isn’t very interesting!
Bing Bar & Companion
Bing Bar is exactly what your perceive it to be. It’s a toolbar installed in IE. As far as toolbars go, this one is actually quite nice. It’s quite chunky (a little like the Windows 7 Taskbar) and very functional.
Companion is a new service which seems to aggregate your social networking. The small Globe icon is in the IE toolbar, click it and this pane will fly out from the left hand side.
To finish we have a shot of all the “new” Taskbar icons;
As previously mentioned, this is a limited Beta of Windows Live Wave 4. As more information and builds are released we will endeavour to update and keep you informed.