Zaki Mirza’s Blog

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… About software and beyond!

Windows Live Photo Gallery – A Review


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A sequel to my Windows Live Writer review post, today I review Window Live Photo Gallery, another application in the Windows Live family. This one lets you view, edit, tag, blog about, print, view slide shows of and share photos. This includes photos residing on your local machine, or the ones in your Windows Live account, or ones that are tagged by your Windows Live Messenger contacts.

In this post I will overview the Windows Live Photo Gallery application and what you can do with it. You can download the Windows Live package here to try them out.

Viewing Pictures

untitled6 Windows Live Photo Gallery overrides the usual picture viewer on your operating system – for good! Not only does it have more on-the-tips features, it also is quite light for they load.

The new zoom feature is more powerful than the earlier, almost non-existent, one – and its fast! The usual rotate, fit-to-screen and view slideshow options are still there, with a wee-bit of eye-candy with the slide show option. (Still it would not beat the professional tools like light-room by adobe or any other, but if Microsoft plans to replace this with the standard picture viewer, it would be a refresh!).

Editing Pictures

untitled67 Clicking the fix button while you view a picture shows a side bar of tools to adjust variety of things in the picture – that almost any novice picture collector requires. With the same look and feel as other Windows Live applications, such as Live Writer and Live Messenger, the new UX from Microsoft really stands our and is in-fact starting to impress me after a way long time of crashing applications and bad impressions. Also, Live Photo Gallery comes with an extensibility support, just like Live Writer so that others can create picture editing tools and post them. The users can then install them without a hitch and extend Live Writer functionality. More information about these are available at the Live Photo and Video blog.

One of the cons that I feel straight away is the inability of the Live Photo Gallery to show previews in gallery mode, Hmm. Could be the inability of my operating system, or whatever, but I hope they make it happen sooner or later.

One of the cool features I believe is sharing the photos straight from your machine to your blog(the blog-it feature), Flickr or whichever service you want to – as far as that service has a plug-in for windows live. A lot of these plug-ins are available here. These includes face book, YouTube, smug mug etc. If you feel like hacking into it, you can write your own by using the Live Photo Gallery SDK.

Other Features

untitled33 Other essential features like downloading from camera or scanner, emailing the photo, arranging in albums (and online albums, event albums and group albums on Windows Live), burning a CD, and of course – searching are also pretty handy and self-explorable. One of the neat things that I find useful is the explorer side bar in the gallery mode. This shows your different aspects of your photo collection. From sorting them by dates, or by tags, or the traditional folder view – its the personal preference that can bring you to the photo you want to browse.

There are also several other views available while browsing the photos and a cool new feature is the Table of Contents view that shows you your photographs sorted by albums.

Verdict

Ermm… I would say its a nice utility after a long time from Microsoft, which is free, fresh and cool. Obviously its not even debatable that Windows Live Gallery is the best photo viewing tool out there – yet, but if you want a light application to do all sorts of things then this is definitely the app for you. Also, like always, Microsoft has put in a lot of space for others to extend this product – and I believe that people are already catching up pretty fast, so its only a matter of time that we will see all sorts of useful things coming to the Windows Live family. Now the question is, does Windows Live stand up to Google and Adobe and Facebook and Twitter? Is Microsoft trying to take them all in one go? Perhaps. Too hard to say yet, Since I still dont use Live Mail and Live Search. Windows Live Photo Gallery is a 4.2/5!

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21 Responses

  1. awahid says:

    Interesting read.
    Is it possible to have some of these features in wordpress?

  2. Fahim Akhter says:

    I only concern would be the load time, because I remember the Office Viewer which had a pretty tidy zoom but still got me a bit cranky with the loading.

    I liked this post and how your views are pretty to the point, simple and easy to understand. Good Review.

  3. frank chapin says:

    I have windows live photo gallery installed. I uploaded from a camera memory card, edited the pics and attemted to copy to a CD. It would not copy because of over 700 mb. I reduced to 634 mb as noted in “my pictures”. Photo Gallery stills says over 700 and will not burn CD after several attempts. How do you get the CD wizard to accnowledge 634 MB and burn the CD. I am very frustrated. Can you help?

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