Microsoft has silently updated its Windows Live Account pages. They are now featuring the new Wave 2 look. In addition to the visual make-over the update brings a long requested and hinted at feature: Linked IDs.
When you sign in to Windows Live Account the new option to link Windows Live IDs is presented right on the first screen. In order to link IDs you will need to click on the link, enter the password of the account you are currently logged in with and the ID and password of the account you want to link it with. That's all...
You can link several IDs together. We haven't tried what the max is but four worked fine for us. You do have to pay attention to security though. Access to all accounts is now secured by the lowest-level password of all IDs linked. Also you should not link an ID that several users have access to with your personal account ID. The user that has access to the shared ID would get access to all your personal stuff doing so.
Ok, linking is done - but what would you link the IDs for? When you have linked IDs together you will only need to sign in to Windows Live once and can then switch easily between the accounts. If you are on Windows Live Hotmail for example you can check your email on one account and then simply click the dropdown arrow next to your login in the upper right corner and choose one of your linked IDs that are listed their. Without the need to enter a password again you will get to access that accounts emails. Pretty convenient. Unfortunately this only works on the new Wave 2 products, so you are out of luck on WL Favorites, Gallery or the personalized homepage for now - we guess that at least some these properties will be updated to Wave 2 soon though.
Another change the update to Windows Live Account brings is an overview of Windows Live Services you are using. Hotmail, Spaces, Custom Domains, OneCare and so on will be listed there if you do use them (beta products and desktop applications won't).
In addition to the update of Windows Live Accounts (and the needed backend update to Windows Live ID to support the Linked IDs) the new Wave 2 look has also been implemented on Windows Live Feedback and Windows Live Support - unfortunately not full blown though meaning that the orb does not have a dropdown menu, links to WL Hotmail, Spaces, etc are missing and you cannot use easily switch accounts using Linked IDs there.Microsoft, Windows Live, Live ID, Windows Live Account, Windows Live Feedb