The future of Windows Photo Gallery

Windows Photo GalleryTo someone who deals with photos quite often like myself, Windows Photo Gallery is one of the most impressive built-in applications in Windows Vista. It is both functional and beautiful to work with. Needless to say, Live Photo Gallery is icing on the cake – moist, delicious cake. And the cake is not a lie.

Before today, Photo Gallery satisfied most of my post-processing needs through the basic but effective adjustment tools. All that was missing was the link between editing my photos and archiving and sharing the photos on Flickr. However in the latest Live Photo Gallery update delivered just today, Flickr uploading has been integrated right into the application so it’s literally become the tool in my workflow.

The progress the Digital Memories Experience (DMX) team has made in the past 6 months is amazing, especially for a free application with no revenue model. A lesson the Ultimate Extras team needs to learn. And I’m even more excited about where they’re heading.

In a job posting today by the DMX team looking for a Software Development Engineer, they dropped a few hints on what to expect in the next generation of Photo Gallery.

Think of all the digital photos and videos that you have taken recently, and those that you receive from your family and friends through the year. These photos and videos are no doubt precious and important to you. We all value these moments and we want to easily relive these memories and to easily share them, all through a 21st-century user-interface that is elegant and polished. Don’t you want to be on the team chartered with bringing a world-class experience to collecting, organizing, creating, and sharing these memories?

Now is an ideal time to join the Digital Memories Group as we wrap up shipping the Windows Live Photo Gallery in the new Windows Live Suite and prepare for the next wave of features. We’re a high-quality development team creating features for a fun and highly competitive photo and video space, a space that matters dearly to millions upon millions of people. It is also a space where Windows Live can show the worth of an elegant rich client collaborating with connected services.

We need a talented, creative Senior Developer who is passionate about the future of digital photography and video usage and who has a special interest in consumer-focused elegant UI, in addition to being ready to improve the Photo Gallery’s ability to collect media, organize and arrange the media, and share that media a variety of ways, including up in the cloud. Think of all the places where photos appear and how easy it should be for our customers to get their photos out there and to bring in photos they find interesting. Looking at our road ahead, we have abundant opportunities for developers seeking challenges and career growth and have exciting challenges around making the complexity of a connected rich-client easy to understand.

PhotosynthThe Digital Memories Experience team (DMX) is helping people make deeper connections with those they care about. We want to give you the ability to effortlessly share your memories, be that a simple slideshow of photos and videos (e.g. evolution of the Vista Slideshow or of Photo Story), a carefully authored experienced (evolution of Movie Maker), or a fully interactive cinematic multimedia experience (a narrated 3D path through a Photosynth that you can control). And we want to make it easy and fun to enjoy your photos and videos, whether that is on the PC in your office, the Media Center in your living room, the XBox in your entertainment center, or on your mobile device when you are out and about. DMX is a part of the Windows Live Experience division (WLX/LEX), which also includes Mail, Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, Spaces, Writer, Calendar, and Family Safety. To achieve our vision for digital memories we work with many other teams including: Core User Experience, Find & Organize, Graphics (Windows Imaging Codecs – WIC – and DirectX) in WEX, MCE, Expression, and Xbox. [This paragraph brought to you by our love of keyword targeting :)]

PhotoSynth creator? I’ll trade you my Weighted Companion Cube. It’s worth everything.

28 insightful thoughts

  1. Great news. Windows Photo Gallery suprised me when I first used it because I wasn’t really expecting much but I ended up tagging and organizing without even realizing it something that never happened with iPhoto or Adobe Elements. Really liked it and despite some obvious flaws think it is actually pretty underated. However, the apparent lack of plug in is a massive drawback. These days any company making products that you can’t plug into is dead. It is a great step to see this though because another way to die these days is to only push interactivity (or codecs) with your own products, like Spaces, when it is clear that consumers are choosing something else. Really happy to at least some Windows teams interacting with the real world. I hope it continues.

  2. Don’t forget, Live Photo Gallery also fixes the ridiculously simple Vista photo import wizard and makes it FAR more useful.
    I hope they decide to just replace Photo Gallery with Live Photo Gallery someday as part of an update or SP.

  3. As much as I love using Photo Gallery for tagging and organizaing, it is amazingly useless when it comes to basic fixes for your photos. Take a look at Picasa (also free) and may be iPhoto(not free) to see how it should be done.
    This program has so many flaws that the Windows Live reincarnation makes it a somewhat useful. The Vista version is plain useless.

  4. For me it is really a problem as a Vista buyer to see that now even one of the key features of Vista is available for XP for free. And inside Vista the new WLPG even brings the inconsistancy of Aero to a higher level.

    First it started with a stupid name (“Photo Gallery” when you also can organise and watch videos even better than in Media Player!) then you need to install a second programm just to get an update (!). Now the new name is even more stupid and confusing (the correct name should be “Windows Live Photo Gallery Desktop” uuuh) instead of releasing new versions of Windows Mail/Calendar/Gallery (I would have called it that simple) within SP1 and delivering the Windows Live services as a plug-in system for Vista (managed inside Vista’s control panel; updated optional over Microsoft Update).

    I’m waiting for the next version of Windows Mail called “Windows Live Mail Desktop with Windows Live Search Maps services in Windows Live Contacts beta”. What if they would have called that popular video game something like “Xbox Live Halo 3″.

  5. The only reason i don’t use Photo Gallery or Live Photo Gallery is because of the size restraints that the websites it connects to have.

    Google Picasa gives me a GB of space to work with, which is more than enough, although i’d like more. MSN Spaces has 10 mb. Flickr has more, but i’m not on that right now.

  6. I’ve also heard they’re internally testing 64-bit compatibility. Whether that’s just the installer or the programs themselves, I’m not sure. The installer was part of the problem here.

    ccoltmanm – It was announced just today that Photo Gallery has Flickr support. Also, Live services have been upping their storage limits lately, so that might happen here if it hasn’t already.

  7. I love Photo Gallery, but wish Microsoft had ship Vista with these new apps. initially, instead of through Windows Live. Kind of undermines the reason to buy Vista, if it’s native programs aren’t as good as the ones on the web.

    I really wish Microsoft would offer a new freebie for Movie Maker. Mines, on XP SP2,crashes too much. And WMM is practically nothing compared to iMovie.

  8. MS should realize how people are pleased when they bother to update the apps in Vista with more powerful ones. In their battle on the enterprise front, MS seem to have forgotten the smaller but useful desktop apps which matter very much to average users. In some aspects, KDE and GNOME also have some really useful apps/utilities/accessories which Windows lacks. MS should form full time development teams for such desktop apps.

    I also want Windows Live Movie/DVD/Media Maker, Windows Live WordPad (based on WPF’s rich typography model) and whatever-happened-to-Microsoft-codenamed-Monaco. That would complete the photos, music, videos consumer lifestyle vision.

  9. Let’s see. I’ll try to catch-all here:

    @tino: In case you haven’t noticed recently, the Live team has changed their naming scheme to make things slightly easier. Now it is Windows Live Mail as the desktop product for Windows Live Hotmail, which is better than Windows Live Mail Desktop beta. And there’d be no reason to call it Windows Live Photo Gallery Desktop, as there’s no online product under the same name to differentiate it from.

    @Michael: I wish there was a stability update (past version 2.1) for WMM XP SP2, as it does happen to crash frequently. And while it isn’t nearly as capable as iMovie (especially iMovie 06), it’s still a pretty good product. It could use some more, but it’s decent.

    @macosx: That’s a good suggestion.

  10. I bought a new computer with Vista (GAG!!!!!!!!!!!!) I went to download some pics from my camera and now all I get is “Photo Gallery can’t open this picture or vidia. Because I don’t have the lastest Window Photo Gallery updates.” I have searched high and low on the net to get this “supposed” update and cannot find it any where. Would one of you technos out there please come to the rescue and tell me what to do here,so I can download my pictures? Please email me direct at pigstye13@aol.com. Thanks

  11. bought new computer with Vista 64bit home premium edition and now receiving message of “Photo Gallery can’t open this picture or vidie. Because I don’t have the lastest Window Photo Gallery updates.” when trying to open up and save pictures that were sent through email. The pictures aren’t the low res they are high res. Will not open or save then open on the computer but for some reason can see them in the body of the email. Can any one please help me with this, spent the good part of a day and hace gotten no where. Thank you.

  12. @Brian: Sounds like you need drivers for RAW photo support. Keep trying to open them with Photo Gallery, it may show you an update dialog. If not: search for a RAW driver for your camera on the website from the camera manufacturer.

  13. also our camera works fine with vista. this is for pictures sent from other people and their cameras. sent the email file from our computer to another vista user and they could open with their photo gallery. they sent it back to me and i could not get it to work still.

  14. It’s a piece of shit. It needlessly opens up new copies of itself every time you open a picture instead of opening that pic up in the same frame superseding the previous. There’s no option to do this anywhere I or many others can tell. Typical MS crap, give something, take something away.

  15. I found this site when googling for an answer on how the **** to get it to stop opening new windows every time i open a photo. This is ridiculous, the last version didn’t do that. It also drives me nuts that every time i want to sort by a certain category (eg name vs. date modified or imported), i have to bring up the sort feature for each folder, and there are a gazillion categories to choose from and it takes forever and you can’t set a default as to which category you always want to sort by. this wasn’t an issue with the last verson. And lastly, with windows picture and fax viewer, the friggin software uploads every freekin photo to a dfferent folder (WITHIN another folder) according to date, so if i want to download two weeks’ worth of pics on my camera, i have to sift through about 14 different files and waste soooo much f***ing time clicking and clicking. Ugh, suckage suckage suckage. Whoever the hell was in charge of making these changes needs a new job.

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