I don’t like Windows Live!

15 06 2010

I take a lot of pictures and like to share them with my friends and family. I usually like Picasa Web of Google. It’s easy to upload and share and also I can download photos from it in large size unlike some of the other sites, which wouldn’t allow that. I’ve been using Picasa for quite a long time now and am very much satisfied by what it offers. 

Very recently, I decided to try Windows Live, prompted mainly by the fact that I ran out of my free 1 GB space in Picasa and I was bit a reluctant to create a new account in Google. So, I thought why not try Windows Live as I already have an account in it and very actively use its Office Live service. 

But that turned out to be not a very good idea. For starters, it forces the user to install Microsoft Silverlight in order to view the slideshow. While it might not be such an awful thing, I doubt all my friends wouldn’t be exactly delighted to comply unless they have intense desire to view the slideshow, which I can’t count on. Despite the rise in the number of Silverlight applications out there, I don’t think its presence on a computer can be taken for granted. 

But this is not all. More is to come. And this time from the sender’s side. I tell you that it’s a nightmare and very frustrating to work on it with the cookies turned off. It asks the user to login a number of times in the process of sharing an album:

  • Initially when going to photos.live.com URL
  • Again when you click on an Album
  • Once Again when you click on Share – Send a link

It asks me to login when I try to open my Hotmail (with the same credentials), by clicking the link from the Live header. Strange! It’s as if, I have to login every time I click something in it. And guess what happened, when I tried to log into my Hotmail at that point? I got a message saying that – “You are already logged in with the same credentials.”. What the hell? Is it some kind of a joke??? 

And there is something called ‘Get a Link’ in Share menu. I tried to share the link with my friends, but apparently it’s asking the users to login to their Windows account. Then, following a message that I need to give permissions in order for my friends to actually access the album, I clicked the “permission” link and added email addresses. 

Still the link didn’t work. 

I started again, and shared using ‘Send a Link’ feature, which I did successfully before, but this time it didn’t work too. 

Also, I didn’t really understand what the ‘Get a Link’ is meant for or how it works. Nothing is intuitive and I don’t believe I have to spend so much time (trying) to figure out things. 

You guess right that I got greatly pissed off by all this. But my woes aren’t complete. In Windows Live, there is no feature of automatically adding email ids to your contact list (Yahoo and Google have been doing this for like ages!) Unless you manually add them to the contact list (in Hotmail or somewhere else), the emails ids are not auto-completed, despite using those ids over and over again. 

Looks like the list of troubles with Live is endless. Check these out:

  • The email id from your contact list appears below the To field as you type in the first characters but you can’t select the id from the list either by clicking Tab or Enter. I don’t know how else to do that. Hmm… (This is while I was trying to Get the Link and giving permissions to people or something like that.)
  • Login to home.live.com, Click photos from the header. You would be pretty amazed by what you’ll find – “Yourname did not share any albums with you”. WT*!
  • There is this confusing thing called Skydrive on your Photos homepage.(Skydrive is basically a file storage and sharing service under the umbrella of Windows Live.) It says – Albums on your Skydrive. I’m not sure why it saves albums on my Skydrive. Do Photos and Skydrive share same space? This is all very confusing. 

It all seemed pathetic to me and the fact that it’s from Microsoft made me feel embittered.

Looks like Microsoft doesn’t care about its online offerings – Email, Photo Sharing etc. much. If that’s the case, why bother providing such lame services, which are far less comparable than the industry leaders. 

It might be true that I’m over reacting a bit or too impatient and really need to allow some time to get used to working on the Live platform. But in my opinion, the transition from one provider to the other should be smooth and the features and the user interface should be intuitive, making it effortless for the user. 

I faced the similar problem, when a long time back, Yahoo closed its Photos feature and offered Flickr as a replacement. It was a nightmare for me to maintain and share stuff through Flickr and I could never able to figure it out. 

Just an interesting incident: 

Just a few weeks ago, one of my friends, who is a Hotmail user had been a victim of email spoofing and not knowing what to do, complained to Microsoft. And guess what it did? The company suspended his account with no promise of giving it back. In the end, it gave back his account but only after 4 weeks or so. Well, I’m not sure whether this is the usual protocol but I thought the whole situation could have been dealt in a better way and definitely without much distress to my friend. 

Well, can anyone help me gain more tolerance towards Windows Live? Or is this the better question – Is it worthy to continue to use it? 

PS: I wrote this post yesterday in a moment of distress and today I found this (actually, a friend directed my attention towards it): New Hotmail rolls out along with new Office Is this the cause of my inconveniences? May be I’ll have to test it again!

But I must confess that I’m really excited about Office Web. I’ve been hoping for something like this for so long. It’s like dream come true (excuse me for being dramatic!). I can’t wait to check it out.

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