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It’s been a long time since Microsoft has had a major update for their Windows Live Essentials suite, but now it looks like we don’t have to wait anymore! Microsoft has just made the beta version of the new Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 available for public download. This release has tons of new features and updates over any of the previous releases we have seen.

Windows Live Essentials

Windows Live Essentials is basically a suite of apps, which consists of all the necessary software from Microsoft to let you do some creative work on Windows in no time, and for free!

We’ve designed Essentials to connect your Windows experience to the web services you already use – not just the ones from Microsoft. The new betas of Windows Live Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Writer, and Messenger connect to photo and video sharing (SkyDrive, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, SmugMug), social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin), email (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail), blogging (Spaces, WordPress, Blogger), and document productivity (Office Web Apps) services. And the new Windows Live Sync keeps your files synchronized across multiple PCs and in the cloud.  You can even directly access your PC over the web with Sync’s new remote desktop feature.

People like to get creative on their PCs as much as they like seeing what everyone else has been up to. Whether it’s Retouch, Panoramic Stitch, or Photo Fuse in Photo Gallery, Auto Movie in Movie Maker, or photo email in the new Windows Live Mail, we think you’ll be excited by the new additions to Essentials that make advanced tasks, well, easy. If you haven’t yet tried Photo Fuse to merge together the best of several photos, it’s a lot of fun.

All the above mentioned tools included in the new Windows Live Essentials beta have got major updates, with most of them getting “Ribbon/Fluent UI” support. The new Photo Gallery with Photo Fuse in my opinion is the best improvement, and is equally good, if not better than its Mac counterpart iPhoto (part of iLife suite). Integration of posting your pictures and videos to different communities like Facebook and YouTube (and others) is by far the best improvement we’ve seen in Windows Live Essentials.

For more on Windows Live Essentials, check out our detailed preview posted here. Available for Windows Vista and Windows 7 only, the all new Windows Live Essentials (2011 Wave 4) can be downloaded from here.

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