Matt Farrington-Smith
15/09/2011 15:47 | By Matt Farrington-Smith, editor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Windows 8 and Windows Live

Microsoft have previewed a number of Windows 8 Metro apps for SkyDrive, Photos, Mail, People and Messaging - all powered by Windows Live.

"See how Windows 8 gets much better when you connect it up to an incredibly rich set of cloud-based services with Windows Live" - Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows Division.

Microsoft have taken the bold step of rewriting all of their Windows Live applications for Metro style on Windows 8.

A chat conversation in a Metro style app for Windows 8. Image Microsoft

The following was gleaned from Chris Jones, Senior Vice President Windows Live - during his speech at the opening keynote at Microsoft's BUILD conference:

We're all familiar with apps on our smartphones, so it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise when Windows 8 introduces Photos, Mail, Calendar, People and Messaging apps to our PCs. All of these apps can be found on the new Start screen. Once you sign into your Windows 8 device these apps are instantly connected to the services and networks you use. Live Tiles will highlight any recent updates just like the Live Tiles found in Windows Phone.

Windows 8 will boast a unique cloud-powered experience to enable you to carry all your stuff with you across various devices. Every Windows 8 user will have their own SkyDrive, but this doesn't mean you have to store all your files there. If you look at the screen above you can see that Windows 8 pulls in photos, videos etc from other places too.

Microsoft shows off Windows 8

First screenshots: Windows 8

You can store your photos in the cloud using SkyDrive on Windows 8. Image Microsoft


First of all, a bit of education: If you've got a Windows Live account you've got a SkyDrive. SkyDrive is a great place for files (photos, documents, music, movies) and other things you want to share.

In Windows 8 SkyDrive works with Metro style apps to give you instant access to your content. It doesn't matter where you are, as long as your devices are connected with your Windows Live account you can browse and navigate photos sitting on another PC.


In Windows 8, all of your photos can be found in one place and are delivered via an aesthetically pleasing and immersive touch experience. Tap into an album and proceed to navigate through your collection by flicking from left to right.

Windows 8 People app. Image Microsoft


The People app is a connected address book (connect your Windows Live account and all of your friends across Facebook and Linked In) via a cloud powered service. It instantly gives you access to everyone from work, to your personal life and contacts on social networks.

From here you can see all of your contact's information and launch the Messaging app depending on their offline/online status. Choose whether you want to start an email, send an instant message, call their phone number, and view their latest activity on social networks (such as Facebook).

If you choose to send an instant message, the app will either send a message directly to Messenger, Facebook or mobile phone if no longer online.

The Metro Mail app in action. Image Microsoft


Windows 8's Metro Mail app manages all your mail accounts in one place. The Mail app lets you manage your email from any service you choose. So as well as pulling in your Hotmail/Exchange account, you can also add your Gmail, your ISP email etc. All of your mail settings are roamed through Windows Live, so there's no need for tricky setup procedures or remembering details.


The Calendar app gives you a comprehensive view of all of your calendars (so calendar entries are pulled in from any number of different sources). These calendars are then synced across all of your different Windows 8 devices through Windows Live.

More on Windows 8

Microsoft shows off Windows 8
Windows 8 first screenshots

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Join Windows Live Channel on Facebook

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