Friday, June 1, 2012

Windows Live Set to Retire : Norton Scientific Collection

Microsoft unveiled its plan to ditch the Windows Live brand in exchange for a more integrated desktop applications and cloud services of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Windows Live was introduced in 2005 and though its services like Hotmail and SkyDrive are being used by over 500 million users, Microsoft noted that they “did not meet their expectations of a wholly connected experience”. Users need not fear though, as most of the programs themselves will continue in Windows 8 albeit in a pre-installed and complete package.

“Windows Live services and apps were built on versions of Windows that were simply not designed to be connected to a cloud service for anything other than updates, and as a result, they felt ‘bolted on’ to the experience.” Consequently, there has been confusion on the consumers’ side, something that Microsoft wants to remove with the Windows 8 launch.

With Windows 8, a user only needs one Microsoft account, referred to as an “identity service”. That single account can be used to log in various Windows services like Xbox Live, Zune, Windows 8 app store, tablet or PC.

“Windows 8 provides us with an opportunity to reimagine our approach to services and software and to design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience, accessible in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices,” according to their blog post.

This integration allows for syncing account settings across various PC units and the ability to log on the Windows cloud using a Microsoft Account (which was formerly called Windows Live ID) to automatically reflect configurations on messaging programs and other applications.

Norton Scientific Collection blog post boasted of the cloud feature of Windows 8 where users can share data across various products, “When you connect a device or service to your Microsoft account, you’re automatically provisioned with a set of cloud services, including a contact list, calendar, inbox, instant messaging, and cloud storage. Because these services are a part of your Microsoft account, they are shared across all Microsoft products and services. For example your contact list is shared across Windows Phone, Windows 8, Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive, so when you add a contact in one place, it shows up in the cloud and on all of your other devices and services.”

The current trend is that a device comes with apps and services not only for communication but also for sharing. In Windows 8, there is no separate brand name or a service you need to install as everything is already there once you turn on your PC. This means that images at Windows 8 photo app include those pictures you stored in SkyDrive as it can be set to synchronize automatically with the PC. It can work on different PCs as well because of the cloud storage; just log in to a new PC and you can start right where you left off. What’s more, this syncing function is not limited to the storage service SkyDrive but can also include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Norton Scientific Collection blog post also mentioned that online storage service SkyDrive is integrated into the Windows Explorer that functions like any other type of drive.

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