updated 08:45 am EDT, Thu June 3, 2010
MS claims Win Live Essentials trump iPhoto
Microsoft today tried to claim a rare edge in superiority for media apps with a preview of an upgraded Windows Live Essentials pack. The bundle focuses heavily on Photo Gallery and claims some advantages not seen in iPhoto: users can make composite images that take the best parts of similar images, and Facebook integration is tight with both uploads and the ability to import tags from photos already uploaded to the social network. Batch edits and an Office-like ribbon interface are also new.
The particular advantages were enough for Microsoft general manager Brian Hall to claim that the entire Windows platform now trumped the Mac with the update. "Windows is better for photos than a Mac, hands down," he told CNET.
Many of the features, however, are primarily designed to catch up with Apple's photo management app, as many of them were already present in iPhoto '09 or earlier. Microsoft's primary feature, face recognition, resembles Faces. Auto adjust, retouching, full-screen animated slideshows, and the ability to quickly sort by person, rating or other criteria were already in the Mac-oriented rival.
Other features due to reach Live Essentials bring an ability to automatically create photo slideshow movies through Windows Movie Maker, much like Apple's longstanding iPhoto to iMovie export, as well as a newly rechristened Live Sync that provides 2GB of online storage and folder sharing between suitably equipped Macs and Windows PCs on the local network.
A wider beta test is due in a few weeks, but Microsoft hasn't said when it plans to launch the finished version of Live Essentials other than later in the year.