This is my foray into Windows Live, Microsoft’s online branch of services. At a glance, Windows Live is visually appealing, featuring a sleek glass theme that flows well with that of Windows Vista. Unfortunately, the user interface is confusing and inconsistent, as there are two entirely different themes employed on Windows Live. One portion of the Windows Live services features the original Blue Vapor theme that was never updated to Wave 2, while the other half features the newer Live 2.0 theme. The Windows navigation orbs in both themes have different links, and there are two separate homepages, a Windows Live Spaces home page and the Windows Live Search home page. A solid set of services are offered including online bookmarking, webmail, blogging, alerts and more.
Windows Live does not hide its attept to play catch up with Google. For every service that Google offers, Microsoft offers a competing service under the Windows Live brand. Despite this obvious replication, Windows Live is arguably superior in some aspects. Windows Live Maps offers bird’s eye views, a refreshing new perspective (rimshot) on the generic 2D maps other search engines offer. Windows Live Books offers many features not present in Google Books.
While Windows Live is still trailing Google, the services are quite impressive. If you have never used Windows Live, give it a try!