(Cross posted from CloudAve)

Microsoft announced today its rollout plans for the 3rd wave of Windows Live services.

The goal of this latest release wave, according to company officials, is to simplify the use of the offered services and unify the user’s entire online experience into the Windows Live interface.
Microsoft is planning to rollout the new services, currently in beta, to the public within the 1-2 months timeframe.

Windows Live Goes Social

One of Microsoft’s main emphasis with the current wave of services is on social networking between users using its services.

Microsoft finally figured out that its Live Messenger with about 268 million users worldwide, is by far the most popular instant messaging software in the world, is actually a social networks. With the new release, your Live Messenger contacts are now your Friends and you can see aggregated information about their activities on the net.

Very much like Plaxo, FriendFeed etc. Microsoft allows users to bring into their profile content they create in all sorts of services on the web (Live Services, Flickr, LinkedIn, blogs and RSS feeds, …) and share it with their friends and colleagues.
When users add photos, write reviews, and update their profiles directly on Live.com, that content will be put into their activity stream as well.
This activity stream is exposed in all sort of ways throughout Microsoft’s services interface.

For example, Microsoft’s new Live Home portal shows the latest events in your social network. When emailing a friend or chatting on Messenger you’re also able to interact with that friend’s activity stream and more…

Not just for private consumers…

I’ve been told that all these new service updates will not skip Windows Live Domains used by universities and organizations to create a personalized version of Microsoft’s services.
If that really the case, having all these new social capabilities as part of its domain offering can be amazing for collaboration and communication inside the organization.
While Google doesn’t seem to care about its Google Applications for Your Domains customers its good to see that Microsoft is going forward with Live Domains.
This latest update may just be the final straw I need to make the switch to Live Domains…

Where’s Live Mesh?!

It will be really interested to see where Live Mesh comes into the picture in regards to all of these Live services.
Live Mesh should be the glue bridging between Microsoft’s online services and its offline applications and devices (S+S) allowing users to sync all their content- contacts, photos, events, favorites, etc. – across devices and services.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer for that…

During the launch we’ve only heard about Live Sync allowing users to sync photos across computers. Some sources say its an incarnation of FolderShare and in any case it doesn’t seem to be based on Live Mesh technology.
With Live Mesh being one of Microsoft’s core platform offering its really hard to understand why we need to have Live Sync too…

Other notes…

  • All the services are released simultaneously in all countries and in 48 (!) languages.
  • Windows Live Skydrive size limit has changed from 5GB to 25GB
  • Windows Live Hotmail looks and feels a lot better to use.
  • I’ve uploaded all the screenshots of the new services to my SkyDrive:

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