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September 9, 2008

New LifeCams Announced & Windows Live Video Messages Launched

Today we announced 2 new Microsoft LifeCams that will be entering the LifeCam Family – the LifeCam Show and LifeCam VX-5500. We also have something to go along with the new LifeCams that extend the LifeCam experience…

People leave friends and family personalized voice mails or send them emails all the time. What about sending them a customized video message with all the benefits of voice mail and email but with video instead? Today, we’re launching Video Messages to do just that!   Video Messages lets users enjoy the combination of what they get with voice mail and email with video to send personalized video messages to friends and family (or whoever they want).

You can visit Windows Live Video Messages at

How about we check out what Windows Live Video Messages is all about?

When users sign into the Windows Live Video Messages website, they will notice it is set up quite a bit like a mailbox is for email. And that’s how users should treat their Video Messages – like voicemail but better.

Note: Silverlight is required for Windows Live Video Messages.

On the top left hand corner, users will see 3 categories for Video Messages next to their display icon: Received, Sent, and Unviewed. A listing of how many Unviewed Video Messages is also displayed along with total Video Messages you have in your account.

On the left hand side users will have a sidebar that also displays new Video Messages (the black number circle in the above screenshot) as well as a list of their top 6 contacts.

When I first signed in to Windows Live Video Messages, I had 1 Unviewed Video Message. This was Video Message by Microsoft welcoming me to Windows Live Video Messages. A tile with a link to a list of available Microsoft LifeCams and where to buy them was also included.

On the top right hand side of Windows Live Video Messages is another set of buttons and options.

Users can select how they wish to view their Video Messages. There are 2 options: “Scattered” View or Grid View. By default, when users sign in it will be on Scattered View as that’s what it was one for me when I signed in. Users can also check how much space they have left in Windows Live Video Messages by moving their mouse over the little harddrive icon. Users will get 2GB of storage for their Video Messages. Because Video Messages aren’t usually very long – 2GB of storage will go a long way. And of course the Recycle Bin icon lets you manage deleted Video Messages and can be emptied at any time.

Recording a Video Message is really easy. To do so, all users need to do is press the “+” at the bottom right hand corner. A recording window will pop up.

NOTE: Windows Live Video Messages is designed to work with all of Microsoft’s LifeCams. Non-Microsoft webcams are also supported by the website.

Windows Live Video Messages will detect your LifeCam and display your LifeCam in the Recording window.

After users record their Video Message, they can play it back before sending to make sure it’s what they want to send. If it is what they want to send, they can click the “+” buttons on the empty display icons at the bottom to add contacts they want to send the Video Message to. You will be able to add multiple contacts as well. Users will also be able to lock certain Video Messages from being forwarded or saved by recipients.

After the user sends their Video Message, the person you sent it to will be notified via email a new Video Message is available for them to view.

That person can then reply to it just as they would reply to an email you send.

Sending and receiving Video Messages is really easy. But wait – there’s more!

For users on Windows Vista, there is also a LifeCam video messages gadget available that lets users create, send, and receive Video Messages right from their Windows Vista desktop (with Windows Sidebar of course!). Users can choose 6 of their top contacts to be always shown in the gadget for quick access to sending Video Messages to specific people – like your mom. The LifeCam video messages gadget supports the all of the Microsoft LifeCams.

The Gadget will run on 64-bit systems when running Windows Sidebar in 32-bit mode.

Give Windows Live Video Messages a try today and start sending Video Messages to your friends and family! I also currently own the Microsoft LifeCam VX-7000 – which I blogged about here. I also got my hands on the Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 which is also proving to be an excellent webcam. I’ll be blogging more about the VX-5000 shortly. And certainly check out the new Microsoft LifeCams announced today as well.