Live is Microsoft's intricate setup of online services and applications that can be accessed from every computer although they works best with Windows-based computers. Live is particularly geared towards home users which is why it is such a good fit for Windows 7 Home Premium.
There are 15 components in Microsoft Live, some of which are optional although for all of them you will need to have a Microsoft account (which you will if you have a MSN or a Hotmail email). In this first part, we will be looking at social components within Windows Live.
Windows Live (WL) home acts as the hub for the Windows Live family and integrates well with Windows 7 Home Premium's Internet Explorer 8 Browser.
It is different from, say Microsoft's MSN Portal page, by the fact that it will display your personal details like your emails, photos and will even display status updates from your contact list on your MSN instant messaging client.
Microsoft goes even further by allowing you to choose what it calls web activities which are essentially web applications.
You can choose from a huge list that includes Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Last.fm, Wordpress and even Flickr; you will be able to get your network updates sent to the same place by those popular services.
Profile allows you to change your personal details which then appears on your MSN instant messaging client. As the name implies, it is all about you, the owner.
Like on a social networking website, you can add photos of yourself, update your status, add friends and provide with more information about what you do, where you are etc.
People, by extension, list the individuals who are in your contact list as well as the categories in which they are placed. You can ask Windows Live People to pull your contacts from other social networks like Facebook, Myspace or Linkedin.
As you might guess, this means that Microsoft with those three components could potentially build a social networking website to rival Myspace or Facebook.
WL Spaces is the equivalent of Blogger or Wordpress. It is somewhere between a blogging and a social networking platform which combines blogging, photos, lists, friends, your profile and a guest book.
You can add and rearrange more modules, modify existing themes or the layout completely. The whole environment is completely customisable.
WL Mail is Hotmail by any name. It is a rejigged version of ye old Hotmail but is both simpler and faster. It has a capacity of 5GB (which is smaller than Gmail and Yahoo) and its intuitive interface has been improved significantly over the last decade.
You can also pull email from your other accounts from Yahoo (you will need a Yahoo plus account) and from Gmail as well simply by entering the appropriate login and password.
Obviously, the most important Windows live component is already included in Windows 7 Home Premium (even if Microsoft doesn't mention it clearly).
Internet Explorer 8 is the browser you should use if you want to fully benefit from the advantages offered by Windows Live Online services.