Windows Live Rolls Out Its New Social Network Hub, Boosts SkyDrive/Photo Storage to 25 GB

Today, Microsoft is rolling out some of the sweeping changes to Windows Live it announced two weeks ago. Windows Live seems to be gradually replacing MSN as Microsoft’s central hub for everything you do on the Web.

The new home page shows both your email and an activity stream of what your contacts are doing across the Web. It’s more FriendFeed than Facebook, with a little MyYahoo thrown in. You can also customize it to show the local weather, your calendar, and news headlines. A handful of recent your photos are displayed at the top, along with a search box and links to other Live services (Profile, People, Mail, Photos, Events, Spaces, Groups, SkyDrive, and even MSN).

The new services here are Groups, Photos, and Profile. The Profile page shows all of your activities on Wndows Live as well as other Web services like Twitter, Flickr, and Yelp. Groups lets you set up collaborative pages with others and includes a group calendar. Windows Live Photos also has a nifty slideshow feature that uses Silverlight to change the background color to match the dominant color in each photo.

With this redesign, Microsoft is also boosting the storage limit of its online file storage service, SkyDrive, from 5GB to 25GB. Primarily that is to make Windows Live Photos a more competitive photo sharing service. The photos take up storage in your SkyDrive account.