A write-up on WLPG's latest beta at PC Magazine. The summary:
The Windows Live Photo Gallery (Wave 3) beta has improved editing tools, a unique people-tagging feature, and the ability to upload to Flickr and other services. But Photo Gallery still trails Picasa, which has better face tagging and integration with online galleries.
Good organization of photos. Easy uploading to online photo galleries, including non-Microsoft sites. Automatic face tagging. Excellent panorama creation.
No geotagging. No help with screen captures. People tagging trails Picasa's equivalent. Limited slideshow and special photo-effect options. No blemish remover. Unsupported camera RAW formats.
Looking at the Cons...
Around the people tagging: given that it's in the Windows Live Photo Gallery desktop client and Picasa people tagging is currently Web Picasa only, WLPG a lot more interesting for actually organizing your full-resolution photos by people and enjoying them on your computer, including the photos you're not keen spending the time (or risk) putting online. Given that you tag the people once on your hard disk, you can do groovy things like get the LiveUpload Facebook publish plug-in and ba-damn! all your people tags get auto-Facebook tagged for people with the same names on your Facebook friends list.
And there's certainly the opportunity for the people tagging metadata in the photos to be used and read by other photo sites going forward. It's pretty easy for them to just look at the XMP XML blob and do something with it. This includes Web Picasa.
I'm not sure what Mr. Muchmore's RAW comment on the Cons list meant. If you have the appropriate raw codec installed for your photos (like Canon's for CR2 files) you'll be able to see them in Photo Gallery just fine and organize away. See, not edit. But you have to have the manufacturer's codec installed. Also, if you're heavy into RAW, you most likely have been using the RAW software that came with your camera or have sprung the big-bucks for a RAW-focused photo editing environment like LightRoom, so again, not really a focus as of today for real point-and-shoot and mobile-phone-photo-snapers.
Screen captures? This is important for consumers? I'd like to know more.
And for geotagging lovers (an exuberant but perhaps tiny minority - of which you can see I'm a member if you go to my flickr map page), you can at least download the Microsoft Pro Photo Tools and it shows up under the Extras menu in WLPG Beta, meaning that you can select a bunch of files to send over to Pro Photos to geotag etc.
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