WSJ review of the new Windows Live services and apps (no wsj.com subscription required); see the full review
If you’re using a Windows PC, the Windows Live Essentials are definitely worth installing. Photo Gallery enables simple photo publishing directly from your computer’s collection of My Pictures, and specific faces can be labeled and tagged in each shot. Windows Live Mail, which replaced Outlook Express last year, is a smoothly designed program that I rely on every day for use with three different email accounts. Windows Live Messenger links into the Live Web services specifically by retrieving the status updates for each person in your network and displaying those in a ticker-like panel at the bottom of Messenger. The Windows Live Toolbar works only in Internet Explorer but shows an at-a-glance view of your network’s updates, along with photos, email and calendar — all in the top panel of the browser.