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Windows Live hopes Wave 3 is a good ride

The software maker on Wednesday offered up test versions of its latest suite of online services, including a new online version of Movie Maker.

Microsoft on Wednesday said it is ready with a new update to its Windows Live suite of applications.

The so-called Wave 3 releases include updated versions of Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Live Writer, as well as a new online movie making tool (as it hinted it might). Windows Live Movie Maker brings some, but not all of the features found in the movie-making application built into Windows, adding the ability to post videos to Microsoft's Soapbox video-sharing site, but notably not to Google's much larger rival YouTube. (The update to Windows Live Writer, however, does allow videos to be posted to YouTube, as well as Soapbox.)

"You'll find new features across the products and most notably, Windows Live Messenger has been almost entirely redesigned," Windows Live VP Chris Jones said in a blog posting.

Windows Live Messenger
The new look for Windows Live Messenger. Of the Windows Live desktop applications, Messenger got the biggest update. Microsoft

The new programs are in beta form, so Microsoft is warning that people other than advanced users might want to stick with the old versions for a bit.

"Microsoft encourages interested Windows Live customers and the tech-savvy community to test the new features and functionality," the software maker said in a statement. "It is recommended that consumers wait until the products are final before downloading."

In addition to updating the desktop programs, Microsoft is also expected to make updates to its online services--things like Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Spaces.

Microsoft rolled out its first generation of Windows Live products when Ray Ozzie announced its Live push in November 2005 and started issuing a second generation of products in June 2007.