As the New York Times reported (rather confusingly) over the weekend, Microsoft is releasing a handful of its Windows Live services with a common installer. Microsoft is making refreshed betas of a handful of its Live services available as a single download later today (September 5).
As Microsoft explains its plans on the Windows Live Wire blog in a note from Chris Jones, a Vice President on the Windows Live team:
"Today we’re releasing beta versions of a new generation of Windows Live software designed for your Windows PC that makes it easier than ever to get connected to Windows Live or other services. This suite of software includes e-mail (Windows Live Mail), photo sharing (Windows Live Photo Gallery), a great publishing tool that lets you post directly to your blog (Windows Live Writer), parental controls (Windows Live OneCare Family Safety), a new version of Windows Live Messenger (8.5), and more.
"Starting today, you’ll be able to install the entire suite of these downloadable Windows Live services at one time, from one place, instead of going through separate installations for each service. Of course, if you don’t want the entire suite, you can still get each application individually."
So far, the new bits aren't available. But once they are, they'll be downloadable from the get.live.com/wl/all site, Microsoft officials said.
No word on when Microsoft expects to move from beta to final with the Windows Live suite.
Update: The beta of the Windows Live suite does not support 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. Sigh. Microsoft officials are saying 64-bit support will be added whenever the final version rolls out.