In case that hot-spot-sniffing keychain doesn't do the trick, Microsoft is testing a new tool to help you detect Wi-Fi hot spots. The Windows Live Wi-Fi Center beta is built to walk you through hooking up to public wireless networks and accessing them securely within a virtual private network, or VPN. We haven't tried it yet, but with this service, Microsoft pairs a searchable hot-spot-locating Web site with a download for Windows XP (Vista support coming soon). Windows Live Local maps the hot spots as well as driving and walking directions to them. No support for mobile devices is available.
This 12-syllable service adds to the confusion about just how many Windows Live products are out there. We've assembled our own list of 10 Windows Live favorites (not to be mixed up with the online service, Windows Live Favorites), and we continue to update our evolving list of Windows Live's multisyllabic, Web-based tools.
Update: The correct name of the new beta app is Windows Live Wi-Fi Center (not Windows Live Connection Center Wi-Fi, mentioned earlier). And while that remains in limited beta testing, tomorrow the companion Windows Live WiFi Hotspot Locator is set to become available at hotspot.live.com.