Windows Live 2011 update has already arrived in my computer, as an important update within the microsoft automated updates. Other than being a few months early (its still 2010 on my calendar) and only a few months after the last update I figured I probably should install and review it because it is the first non-beta version. Once the new Photo gallery was run it asked me again to download two codecs to be able to display RAW formats from my camera. The previous update had also ask for exactly the same updates and I thought I had installed them correctly, obviously not. Lets hope it works this time.
I actually I can not see a lot different to the recent beta update (it could be identical) it is still amazingly fast.
A big new feature I didn’t discuss before, is the face recognition, and particularly the batch people tagging which is simple, fast and efficient. Its accurate, except for baby and bride photos. A phenomena I had already noticed to myself in picasa’s face recognition. In my family at least cousins and old photos of their parents and even old photos of their grandparents as kids get muddle up a lot and each kid probably has two or three groups for them at different baby/toddler ages. An even stranger effect is with bribes. Whilst female family and friends have their own large clusters in the day to day photos, they will always have a different cluster for their wedding day. Does this mean the current state of face recognition thinks we all marry someone different on our wedding day.
At the more mundane level photo gallery does give you the right range of ways to organize your photos, ie by time, people,subject(tagging), rating and/or place (geotagging). At the moment only picasa also offers this flexibility (ok the old HP photo manager, now defunct, also had similar aspirations). Most of us are now collecting a large mass of digital photos probably rivaling iTunes if not exceeding it as the biggest disk space hog on our computer and it is very unlikely that we are keeping that collection organized. The traditional photo organizers, from Photoshop to the ones supplied with your camera are groaning, becoming sluggish if not failing under this glut. Combining the Organize features and Quick Find, right beside each other on the ribbon menu, will soon put you back in control.
If you want to get the latest version of Windows Live Essential 2011 use this link. You can just download the Photo gallery if you don’t want the other utilities. By the Way Windows 7 no longer includes utility photo manager or movie maker software in the operating system bundle, so it you are using windows 7 you probably should download it if you haven’t been encourage to do it yet.