Microsoft adds event planning to Live services

Microsoft is launching an event planning service to its Live suite of services.

Microsoft is adding an event planning offering to its expanding Windows Live suite of services.

Microsoft says the new service, Live Events, offers more than some other existing online invitation services, such as the popular Evite.com. Like those services, users of Live Events will be able to design a Web page and invitation to an event, choosing from over 100 templates. They can customize further by changing the font and background images and dragging and dropping different components of the site.

Users can choose e-mail addresses of people to invite to their event from an address book they may already have in Hotmail or Messenger. They can also type in e-mail addresses.

One feature that may set Live Events apart from other similar services is the ability for event participants to visit the invitation site after the event to upload photos or videos or comments, said Jay Fluegel, product manager for Windows Live Events. Then anyone can order prints of the pictures, view slideshows or download the photos to Windows Live Gallery, a beta service that lets users share photos and other content.

The service, accessed at events.live.com, began a gradual rollout across 56 international markets late last week.

Microsoft also announced updates to a couple of other Live services. Users of the Skydrive beta, which lets anyone store and share files online, will now have 1G byte of storage, up from 500M bytes.

In addition, Live Spaces users will see an updated summary of changes their friends have made to their Spaces pages. When a user logs on to their Spaces page, they'll see thumbnails of new photos and snippets of text entries that friends have posted on their own pages. Microsoft also updated permissioning on photo albums so Spaces users can restrict access to their photo albums to a specific list of people.

Microsoft has slowly been adding to and updating its Live services, with plans to have a complete suite of integrated services by the end of this year. Users can visit get.live.com to find out about the different services.

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