Microsoft revamps Windows Live

Microsoft is giving Windows Live a serious makeover. The company today announced plans to roll out a wide range of new beta Windows Live services intended to help you aggregate all aspects of your online life–including several popular third-party services–under one Microsoft roof.

Windows Live emerged from its initial beta incarnation only a year ago. The new services dovetail with new versions of those initial services as well as with downloadable Windows Live Essential desktop applications, all already available in beta form.

The updated services include Hotmail (which now offers unlimited storage, faster performance and an improved spam filter) and Windows Live SkyDrive (which upped its free online storage limit from 5GB to 25GB of data).

The big news, though, is the announcement of relationships with over 50 third-party services ranging from Digg, Flickr, and Pandora to StumbleUpon, Twitter, and WordPress. Through these partnerships Microsoft is able to create what it calls a “What’s New” feed that can be shared with other Windows Live friends via your Live Messenger account, your Windows Live Home page, and other Windows Live services.

What’s New feeds can be personalized to reflect any updates you make or receive, either from a Windows Live service or one of the third-party services. For example, What’s New could show Tweets from your Twitter friends, or let your friends know that you’ve posted new photos to Flickr.

The beta online services announced today will not be available immediately, but will be introduced gradually to Windows Live users starting in December, Microsoft says.

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