Microsoft finishing up Wave 3 of Windows Live

After almost a year of beta testing, Microsoft is currently preparing the final releases of Wave 3 for Windows Live. There are two major updates that are yet to come, and we've received some information from some insiders within the company.

The first release will be an update to Windows Live Messenger. A Microsoft employee recently listed a new build number of Windows Live Messenger in their personal status message. After speaking with a company representative, they are preparing to release a QFE (Quick Fix Engineering) patch for Windows Live Messenger. At this time no exact date has been announced, I expect they will release it within the next two weeks as the Windows Live team finishes up the Wave 3 releases. The build will not contain any new features and will focus on bug fixes and Windows 7 functionality. The build number announced will be 14.0.8059.0127.

The second update will be for Windows Live Hotmail. When Neowin interviewed Ryan Gavin and Dharmesh Mehta, Directors of Windows Live Consumer Product Management, we learned that the Windows Live Hotmail team were rolling out POP3 access after years of demand. During the first phase of the release access was only granted to a few select regions of the world, leaving millions in the dark waiting for their update. U.S. customers will start receiving access to their email via POP3 starting late next week, and all other markets should be receive the update by the end of February.

Now that we're nearing the final releases of Wave 3, it's time to move on to Wave 4. We've been told that Wave 4 has officially been launched internally. The team is right on schedule and have entered the development phase. No new features have been announced at this time. However the Live Mesh and Office Live platforms recently were pulled together and both are now apart of the Windows Live platform. So huge updates to Sky Drive, Live Mesh, and Office Live are coming. If you're a beta fanatic like Tom Warren and myself, keep an eye on your inbox as the beta should be launching sometime next month!

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They really need to work on fixing some of the overlap that's going on with Folder Share, Live Sync, Live Mesh, SkyDrive, Office Workspace and now's getting kind of ridiculous. While they're at it, they could also improve Live Mail's Calendar compatibility and exportability, as well as Contacts. I wish the Wave 4 Beta was already out...

I'm pretty sure Wave 4 will be released sooner than most here think. I estimate it will launch around the time Windows 7 is launched.

My guess as to what Wave 4 will include...
- Live Video Messages (currently in Beta)
- Live Movie Maker (currently in Beta)
- Web Messenger integration with Live Mail (status currently unknown)
- some level of integration with Office Live. I'd be hugely suprised if they were able to get Live Mesh, Live SkyDrive, Live Sync, Office Workspace and SkyBox integrated in that timeframe...or perhaps consolidation is a better word for it.

I'm loving what the Windows Live team has done sofar.

Still no ics/vcs import or sync functionallity for the calendar in in Live Mail :(
The calendar bundled with Windows Vista was so good but now with Windows 7 we are left with the crappy one built into Live Mail :(

Well well, there are a lot of alternatives though.

Stingray said,
Hope they fix the Windows Live Mail memory leak.

Does it even have a memory leak? I haven't noticed this.

cJr. said,
Does it even have a memory leak? I haven't noticed this.

Occasionally I notice WLM using upwards of 60% of my CPU, although I've never seen it using an amount of memory that has been cause for concern.

Call me crazy... but I logged into my email this morning and it had the new features (the ad was on the right side and it had the header designsfrom my then 5 minutes later it was gone. Idk?

RebelSean said,
It's still in beta ;).

I expect it will come in Wave 4 a.k.a 2010 builds. That's why it has the ribbon and not the same interface as the others Live apps.

I would love to see real improvements to the apps such as photo gallery so it can really compete with other photo management software. Its just so basic right now that I don't find it useful.

I think they intended it to be very basic - for the very non-tech crowd. Though they'll probably gradually add more features.