Thoughts on Windows Live Photo Gallery (Wave 3) beta

Well this is my last thought post about the Windows Live Wave 3 applications. I’ve been looking around WLPG Wave 3, and the new improvements are fairly good. So I wrote some of the things I’ve noticed.

What I like that’s new:

1.People Tagging – Now I can tag people in photos, including myself. I’m not sure, but I also think WLPG is smart enough to recognize people automatically based on the features of people you have tagged before.

2. Black & White effects – A simple classic effect built right in, with 6 different types

 

3. SmugMug and Picasa supportNow you can upload to SmugMug and your Picasa Web Account, as well as Flickr (since the last time) and your Drupal website.

4. Photo Straightening – Now there’s a tool in the Fix area to easily pull a slider left or right to make the subject(s) in the photo more straightened if needed.

5. Ability to close the Left pane – Now you can easily close, or at least collapse the left pane, so it doesn’t get in the way. The pane that displays the folder hierarchy for the photos and videos.

6. Photos selected for batch editing easier to see – In the previous version of WLPG, when you selected multiple photos (called ‘batches’) for editing, grouping, or whatever, it was a bit hard to tell which photos were selected and which photos weren’t. The selected ones had just a slight gradient over it, but it was almost imperceptible. Now, they’re much more noticeable with a bluish gradient.

The team has more about the new improvements here.

However, I still find WLPG Wave 3 to not address some things I’ve been wishing, or something I don’t like about the changes:

1. I don’t like the Wave 3 Bar – I really don’t like the new Wave 3 bar. I’m more of an icon person, than a text person. I really want the icons back! I recognize things more quicker with icons. I’m just glad they didn’t take icons away in everything. If icons mean taking up even a bit more space on the bar, I wouldn’t mind.

2. No geotagging – Microsoft’s own Pro Photo Tools 2 can do this, yet WLPG can’t? I could imagine geotagging in WLPG also linking up to Live Maps and maybe even get there to be public Photosynths.

3. Lack of fancy photo effects – Black & White effect is a nice start, but there should be more effects built-in to WLPG. Picnik has a great array of such neat effects like Pixelate, Heatmap, Posterize, Sepia, and a bunch of them all easily applied to images of all kinds, and ease in adjusting effects. Not to forget about the ability to add borders, ClipArt shapes on top of photos, text overlay, AND the ability to create your own custom effects. It’s just amazing.

4. Ability to pull up images from other web services – Picnik also has partnered with a lot of services out there to easily transcribe users’ photos into their web application so you can make changes you like and save them that way, and they’ll automatically change on your other service. Having that ability in WLPG would be great.

5. Collage and photo album maker – Microsoft’s AutoCollage is neat, and if it ever gets out of MSR, it could be incorporated into WLPG, instead of another application. I would also like a general collage maker where groups of 2 or more photos are placed next to each other in some type of pattern. Again, Microsoft could use Picnik as maybe some sort of inspiration on how to do it right. Having a photo album (akin to maybe looking like a scrapbook, neat backgrounds behind photos, special borders, annotations, etc.) maker would also be a plus, instead of just regular grouping in a folder.

6. Annotations – Please! I’d love to annotate my photos with special comments on particular parts of an image.

7. Edit Brush – Sometimes I want to apply edits only to a particular part of the image, and having a Brush would certainly help, especially if there were different shapes and sizes to work with.

8. Separation of videos, or the addition of video editing – Having video content being viewable in WLPG is pretty useless, besides organizing them into folders and tagging. So either it should stay out of WLPG completely, or allow some nice simple touch-up tools for videos. Playing videos in WLPG is NOT fun.

9. Online service – I also wish there was a nice online version of WLPG, with as much functionality as possible. Using Silverlight maybe?

So overall, WLPG has some nice new goodies, but it could still keep on improving. Maybe Microsoft maybe hasn’t taken the hint from my post, but I think Picnik is a great model of how image editing should be done for your average web user.

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