Building Windows Live

Building Windows Live

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Engineering is a process, with trial and error, analysis, weighing of pros and cons, planning for the unexpected, and discovering unexpected issues along the way. It’s exciting precisely because we’re always learning as we go.

I want to welcome you to our new blog, which is about just that: the engineering behind Windows Live.

Over the last year, we’ve consolidated our blogging efforts for all of the different Windows Live teams into a single blog, Windows Live team blog (or “Windows Live Wire”), so you wouldn't have to chase all over the web find out what we’re up to and what’s new in our products. But as we’ve brought the different blogs together, some of you let us know that you wanted to see more details about not only what we’re building, but why and how.

This blog, Inside Windows Live, is where we’ll do that.

The posts here are intended to complement those on the Windows Live team blog, which will continue to provide Windows Live customers with essential news and information about using our products and services. 

The new blog, on the other hand, will be dedicated to software engineers, web industry insiders, and to our most passionate Windows Live customers, those who want to dig a little deeper into how we build our services and how they’re used worldwide. 

We’ll start by giving you the current state of our software and services, including Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, and our Essentials suite of client software.  We’ll share with you how we build and operate our services, explain what’s going on when there are service interruptions, and talk about how we see people using our services worldwide.  As we release new or updated products, we’ll provide an inside look into the changes we made and why we made them. 

But we won’t just be telling you what we think. We’ll also be asking you what you think. We strongly believe that success for Windows Live must include an open and honest two-way discussion about how we operate and design our products in order to balance the different interests of customers and partners who rely on us every day. 

We’ve created this blog with that two-way conversation in mind. We decided to host Inside Windows Live here on The Windows Blog in part to reflect the great synergy between Windows Live and the new Windows 7 operating system, and in part because this site gives us better options for monitoring and gathering your feedback—via comments, direct mail, and even hosted IM conversations. Over the next few months you will also see this site become integrated with Windows Live ID, giving you even more ways to interact with us on Windows Live.

I’ll be blogging here regularly, along with the lead engineers on my engineering team, who will be able to give you deeper insights into each of the products they work on. Because each blog post is just the start of a conversation, you’ll see us respond directly to comments, and follow up on other comments with new blog posts. 

In short, we will take the blog where you want to take it—so if you have questions or topic suggestions, please leave a comment! We’d like to thank you for your interest in Windows Live, and we’re looking forward to getting a good discussion going with you in the next few posts.

Chris Jones
Corporate Vice President, Windows Live

20 Comments
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  • Hope you still read this. I've been using Windows Live Messenger since it was MSN Messenger 6 and I like the changes you've made until now, but the changes made were  aesthetic, (UI changes, winks, buzzes, scenes and some more), but... what about improving the IM experience? I mean, what about improving the chat? I can see other clients are including nice features such as the possibility to delete a message if there was a mistake or sent to the wrong contact. Quoting is also a nice feature, probably you know what i'm trying to tell, please focus on this kind of features.

    Many people don't like WLM 2009 because of the UI and the Photo Share feature (being honest, I find it annoying too but still use it) and because they have a lot of instalation problems, I haven't had any, maybe because I know how to mantain my system but many users don't. You have been doing the installation process even more and more complex with each major update (or at least it seems like you are) as well as the client itself.

    Now that WLM 2010 beta screenshots were leaked, it seems this is getting worse. Social networking is getting very popular and it may be nice for many people to have this feature, but is it still an IM client or what? WLM is going out from its main objective: being an IM client.

    Now, about the service, me and a lot of users have been experiencing several issues in the last months (messages not delivered mainly) and now, the list where you can see you has deleted you or not hasn't been working for a while, and this is creating a lot of confusion for people who don't know that the list got stuck time ago.

    I know you may be working hard on the Windows Live Platform, but please, focus on improving the quality and the experience of the service and stop adding features that many of us just use them one or two days, maybe once a month or a year. Hope you can understand what I'm trying to tell and good luck in future developments :)

  • I thought I commented on this post.

    Why cant the team work on the things WL users are asking about like spam. Apparenty it is a problem otherwise this blog might be on spaces.

    Spaces is being neglected folks.

  • I hate kids that just slam things "chase they can" about Microsoft on the internet but but for goodness sake you people insult your customers and developer bases intelligence so consistently.  Since 2003 we have been listening to nothing but nonsense from you people about Windows Live/Live Mesh ect...  At this point....really you guys...blow it out your a.... and who gives a sh.......  I mean honestly!!!!!

  • SergeSF
    6 Posts

    The ONLY thing you had to fix in Outlook Express - is get rid of .dbx for message storing. Instead you destroyed it. Microsoft DESTROYED Outlook Express, then Windows Mail. The reason is completely unknown.

    Now you promote Windows Live Mail, which looks like a joke, childish, stupidest application ever. Why to read newsgroups I have to switch mode????? Why so huge fonts? Why so stupid colors??

    "How to make our products even worse?" - is the motto of Microsoft, obviously.

  • vasudev
    28 Posts

    A warm welcome Chris ! Nice to see an engineering blog on Windows Live. It was needed.

  • @JohnCz Thanks for the ideas, we'll think about these for future topics!

  • @Slimy @Jetfire @Technogran See my follow on post at windowsteamblog.com/.../more-about-the-new-blog.aspx which tries to address your questions.

  • @Picsoe We discussed your feedback offline and as I mentioned in the email I'm sorry you had issues.  If you do remember the specific problems you had with Photo Gallery and Calendar please feel free to send them my way.  Thanks for the comment.

  • @john222 Thanks for the feedback.  We're definitely focused on improving the software and service. I'll follow up offline to make sure I understand your feedback on the product.

  • @windowsfan1 We talked about this extensively and decided that we felt it would be more appropriate to host this discussion on the Windows blog given that we will cover topics that overlap with Windows.

  • Picsoe
    7 Posts

    john222 told already what a lot of us feel about "Live"

    When we file suggestions, requests, supplications, etc the answer is classic :

    - good proposal

    - the team is working hard

    - we'll see what we can do

    - we do our best

    I frankly do not know what the team has been doing during all the hard work while doing their best because we do not hear, read, or see anything new since lightyears.

    e.g. I have filed a problem with Photo Gallery and another one about Calendar in the beginning of the year.

    Result per today : nill, zero,nothing

  • John222
    1 Posts

    Chris,

    >>We’ll share with you how we build and operate our services

    Apparently, you build it very slowly and operate it very inefficiently. In a connected world where frequent product updates are not only desireable but necessary to stay competitive, Windows Live is a stale product with no apparent direction. Start by ramping up productivity and innovation to the benefit of users.

    >>We strongly believe that success for Windows Live must >>include an open and honest two-way discussion

    I strongly believe that this is empty management speak. The success of Windows Live must include productivity and innovation, and users have already told you, many times, what they need. You don't need a blog to state the obvious, so get back to work.

    >>different interests of customers and partners who rely on us every

    >>day.  

    Really? Your partners and your customers have different interests? I think your partners want you to have more users, and you are losing users to Facebook and Google every day, because you haven't so much as touched on the enormous potential of Windows Live, and you haven't innovated a damned thing in this space.

    So again -- blog less, do more, focus on users.  

  • Why is it that the Windows Live Team isn't even blogging on the Windows Live Spaces service they've created. I have a blog on Windows Live, and quite frankly it is the worst blogging service out there. As for why I'm using it, I'll let my username explain that.

    Do you honestly expect consumers to use Windows Live when the Windows Live Team doesn't even use it? Yes, there is Windows Live Wire, but why isn't this on Spaces?

  • Great idea on doing this blog... Looking forward to the open communication, something long needed between Windows Live and users, and it's great to see y'all making the effort!  

  • spain08
    3 Posts

    Beta. January 2010

    Speed Beta and few suggestion, Very specific Tester only. The beta, were to various countries, with their languages in different time periods.

    Nice to meet you Chris.

    Francisco Martín, Microsoft Gold Certified.

  • Jetfire
    3 Posts

    I also echo Slimy's question. When will Wave 4 start testing? I am most interested in improvements to Hotmail and Windows Live Mail desktop.

  • JohnCz
    204 Posts

    Topic Suggestions...

    1. Windows Live Toolbar vs Bing Toolbar Platform:  Does Windows Live intend to consolidate its toolbar efforts behind the Bing Toolbar Platform?  Thus consolidating the number of toolbars needed.  If so, will we see WLT features reintroduced like, Preview Calendar, Preview What's New and Favorites Sync?

    2. Windows Live Apps / App Store:  Is there going to be a developer story where developers can create Silverlight Applications that can be launched from various areas within WL and/or Bing Toolbar?

    3. SkyDrive, Video & Bing:  Do you plan on indexing public SkyDrive folders using Bing and use Bing as a content discovery portal?  Essentially using the combined capabilities to create a replacement for the now defunct MSN SoapBox.

    4. SkyDrive, Windows Home Server:  Do you see an opportunity to extend SkyDrive storage capacity with local storage on a Windows Home Server?  Providing the added benefit that it would save users tremendous amount of time as they wouldn't have to upload photos/videos to SkyDrive...their local network folders just become exposed to SkyDrive.

    5. Office Live:  What does the Jan '09 merger of Office Live with Windows Live mean?  Will Office Live web sites be impacted?  Is it your intent to continue to advance the web site capability when SharePoint 2010 becomes available?

    6. VOIP / Voice Messaging:  The current state of voice capabilities in Live Messenger hasn't changed much.  Do you plan on opening up LM Call to SIP?

  • I echo Slimys question. Why the long wait? In the meantime others are passing you by. Whilst I am waiting for the Wave 4 updates to both the site and the Live Essentials suite. Picasa has had two updates in the last few months containing people tagging face recognition, geotagging your photos inside the editing window and other features added, thereby leaving Photo Gallery way behind. Its too long inbetween each update in my humble opinion.

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    Welcome Chris , and thanks for Blog idea.

  • Slimy
    3 Posts

    When are you expecting to start the Windows Live Wave 4 beta?