When Windows Live “wave 3” launched in December, its popular photo-sharing service was relocated from the flagging Spaces service to a shiny new home within SkyDrive. It was definitely a good move, considering that SkyDrive offers each user a whopping 25 GB of online storage space, p rovides a myriad of permission configuration options, and supports blog-like discussion comments. There were a handful of other enhancements, including the ability to “tag” people’s faces within your pictures, as well as a really slick slide-show feature that dynamically generates color-matched backgrounds and a really nice photo scatter effect.
However, with every step forward, it seems that the fledgling services of Windows Live take another step back. In this case, WL Photos lost the ability to control the order of photos within albums. However your photos were uploaded to the album, that’s how they were arranged. And people complained. A lot.
The backlash was almost instantaneous. The plucky Windows Live team reassured us from day one that they were feverishly working on restoring this critical functionality as quickly as possible, but disgusted users furiously commented that they’d bail on Windows Live if photo ordering wasn’t restored at once.
I’m sure that Windows Live lost a few casual users to Flickr or Photobucket, but most of us Live-lovers hung in there, hoping against hope that one sweet day, it would be back and better than ever. Well, mere seconds ago – thanks mostly to the power of Twitter – I learned that Windows Live Photos once again supports drag-and-drop functionality. And how.
Yep, that’s Silverlight-powered drag-and-drop goodness, fresh from the oven. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; as I understand it from sources at LiveSide and the SkyDrive team blog, we’ll soon see even more socially-oriented updates to Photos. More and more frequently, it seems that Windows Live is going for vast long-term improvements to their services in the form of small, staggered updates.
I don’t know why, but I suddenly feel very vindicated being a Live-lover. Nice work, SkyDrive team.
Update: Due to the imminent closure of its Soapbox user-generated video sharing service, I just moved the one and only video I ever posted over to YouTube. Sucks to lose the service, but thanks for the heads up anyway, Microsoft.
Update 2: Thanks to a tip from Microsoft author, MVP, and Facebook buddy Chris Leeds, I’ve uploaded my very first Silverlight-powered video to the Silverlight Streaming Beta on Windows Live! How do you like that?!
Update 3: Since they killed Silverlight Streaming, it’s back to YouTube for the video. 😦