Microsoft has released the 2011 version of Windows Live Essentials - the consumer package of it's "software plus services" (S+S) strategy.
Currently, Windows Live Essentials provides the following, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Mesh, Mail, Family Safety, Writer, Messenger Companion, Bing Bar, and the Outlook Connector Pack.
New features in Photo Gallery include "Photo Fuse", which is used to combine the best parts of multiple shots (for example, it will choose bits of the picture which are good and ditch the rest - like someone blinking in a picture) and easy retouching. It also incorporates face recognition to help find and organise your photos, also adding integration into Flickr, Facebook and SkyDrive.
Movie Maker can also turn a set of photos from Photo Gallery into a movie - after which it can be sent to YouTube, Facebook or SkyDrive, burnt to a DVD (requires Windows DVD Maker) or saved in formates suitable for a variety of devices.
Mesh automatically syncs selected files between multiple Windows 7 PC's and the cloud (sounds scary doesn't it!), with 5GB of included storage on SkyDrive.
Live Mail handles multiple email accounts (including Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail) and provides a "conversation" view.
Writer 2011 worked with blog services like WordPress, Blogger and TypePad to provide WYSIWYG editing of blog posts - it also supports photos, videos and Bing Maps.
Family Safety extends Windows' Parental Controls features - it provides remote management, enforces the use of safe search in Google, Bing and other popular search engines, blocks inappropriate content, restricts Hotemail and Live Messenger communications to approved contacts and reports on activity.
Where can you get this tasty new update?