Microsoft cloud services offering Windows Live for the Windows 8 and Windows Phone has been reimagined. In a May 2 blog post, authored by Chris Jones, VP of Windows Live group, talks about the reimagined role of cloud services in Windows 8.
Jones state that the cloud services featured in Windows 8 will serve as an update to Microsoft's Windows Live platform, which has not met Microsoft's expectations of "a truly connected experience."
Windows Live was first announced on November 1st, 2005, and the company described it as "a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web."
"Over 500 million people around the world are already using the Windows Live services, Microsoft notes. There are 350 million active Hotmail users, 300 million active Messenger users, and over 130 million SkyDrive users with 17 million of these uploading files every month," Jones states.
Windows 8 and Windows Phone propose a new approach to how users can stay connected, Microsoft is considering means to rally Live services to fit them. "Windows 8 provides us with an opportunity to reimagine our approach to services and software and to design them to be a seamless part of the Windows experience, accessible in Windows desktop apps, Windows Metro style apps, standard web browsers, and on mobile devices," Jones explains.
The first and most important link to Microsoft's cloud based services going forward will be Microsoft Account -- which creates a identity for individuals to sign in to Windows 8 PC, and then use the same account to check billing for services like Xbox LIVE, Zune, and the Windows 8 app store.
Microsoft account is also connected to Xbox gamer tag to let users track high scores and games.
"We'll be rolling out the change in nomenclature from Windows Live ID to Microsoft account over the next several months across our product line," Jones said.
Microsoft account also automatically provisioned with a set of cloud services, including a contact list, calendar, inbox, instant messaging, and cloud storage. These services connect to a PC and a Windows Phone, as well as apps desgined included with API support.
"Because these services are a part of your Microsoft account, they are shared across all Microsoft products and services. For example your contact list is shared across Windows Phone, Windows 8, Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive, so when you add a contact in one place, it shows up in the cloud and on all of your other devices and services," Jones explains.
Windows 8 also uses cloud services to roam settings across PCs so you can log in to a new PC and pick up right where you left off. Microsoft account also offers everyone access to SkyDrive, for cloud storage for documents, photos, your phone's camera roll, and settings from your PC.
Jone notes, "Windows 8 is designed to be cloud-powered, so it comes with Metro style apps for communication, sharing, scheduling, photos, and videos. Preview versions of these apps come installed with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and include Mail, Calendar, People, Photos, Messaging, and SkyDrive."
"They're all powered by cloud services, so when you sign in with your Microsoft account, your email, calendar, contacts, messages, and shared photo albums show up right in your apps."
"For customers who've shared family PCs, family safety is now a feature of Windows accounts and no longer requires a separate download. Also, Windows Phone comes with the same set of apps, powered by cloud services, and connected to your Microsoft account. For customers who use Windows 7, we have a set of Windows desktop apps, including Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Messenger, Family Safety, and our recently released SkyDrive for the Windows desktop," Jones adds.
Microsoft account also let customers to connect with many different social networking and communications services -- and comes with just like the contact list, stores your connected services list in the cloud and roam across your devices. "This means that if you connect your Microsoft account to LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, your contacts from these networks show up in your contact list, so you can send them email from your PC or call them from your phone," Jones explained.
He said, Microsoft also support 3rd party developers through the Live SDK, allowing developers to cloud-power their Metro style apps, or apps and services for other platforms. "Our APIs use standard and familiar protocols including OAuth 2.0, JSON, REST, Exchange ActiveSync, and XMPP," Jones concludes.
Jone added a chart that breaks down software and services in Windows 8:
Windows Live ID, Passport
SkyDrive app, SkyDrive Desktop
SkyDrive app, Office app
FolderShare, Live Mesh, Windows Live Mesh
Windows Live Mail, Outlook Express
Windows Live Mail, Windows Calendar
Integrated in Hotmail and SkyDrive
Photos app, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker
Photos app, Camera Roll
REST, JSON (via SkyDrive)
Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Movie Maker
Microsoft also provided shared a video, as seen below, in which Jones promises the new cloud services "rethink Windows Live" to better serve customers.
In the video, Jones shows how the cloud-based experience of Microsoft services, including SkyDrive and Hotmail, will be the same across the company's platforms and through a web browser.
The video also briefly discusses how developers can implement Microsoft's cloud service APIs for their customer service.