Microsoft's software-and-services solution, Windows Live, has come a long way since its conception in November 2005.
Back in 2005, Windows Live proved to be just a mess of applications with little coherence between them, providing a largely-disjointed experience. Late in 2007, Microsoft rolled out Windows Live Wave 2, and its fabled software-and-services solution began to take shape.
Today, a beta of Windows Live Wave 3 has been found on Microsoft's website and it offers new-and-improved versions of Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Photo Gallery... to name but a few.
The release includes version 9 of Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Mail has been updated to include built-in calendar support. Calendar, a significant and long-awaited addition to the Windows Live suite, provides simple synchronisation with Microsoft's online Windows Live Calendar.
Wave 3 also promises to bring together all Windows Live applications with a common and better-styled interface. As a freeware solution, Windows Live is growing into a more-than-capable alternative to Microsoft's Outlook, and it could prove to be a thorn in the side of similar services such as Mozilla's Thunderbird and Google's Calendar.
The Windows Live Wave 3 beta can be downloaded here, and the web-based installer will allow you to choose the applications of your choice.
Should you be willing to try it out, please share your thoughts in the HEXUS.community forums - we're eager to hear about your experiences with Microsoft's latest software-and-services offering.
*Update* The Windows Live Wave 3 beta is now officially available at download.live.com.