Microsoft is trying to improve the photo features of Windows Vista:
Windows Vista is designed to fix these shortcomings, Nash said. But newer software called Windows Live, in public beta testing since earlier this month, is geared to expand photo abilities even more--in part through improving what the PC can do on its own and in part what it can do with the Internet.
"The notion of live services is a critical part of Microsoft's strategy," Nash said. "Our mindset is that the value proposition of Windows Vista is a combination of the core operating system and those online services."
Of course, XP isn't the only comparison to Vista that can be made. Apple's Mac OS X includes many photo-friendly features already.
Dave Block, Windows senior product manager, demonstrated the photo-related components of the Windows Live software. Windows Live Photo Gallery augments Windows Vista Photo Gallery with the ability to sharpen images and to view a histogram that shows an image's distribution of light and dark tones.
The software also adds the ability to upload photos with two mouse clicks to Windows Live Spaces, an online site for blogging and sharing photos. Microsoft doesn't envision the ability to export photos to other sites such as Flickr or Shutterfly, Block added in an interview.
Windows Live Gallery, part of a suite that includes other components for blogging, mail and other tasks, takes over from the Vista Photo Gallery when installed, Block said.