Microsoft tries to improve Vista photo features

Microsoft now says image uploads to non-Microsoft photo sites will be possible.

Microsoft developed Windows Vista in part to make it easier for people to manage their digital photos. Now it has released beta software that's trying to refine that experience further.

Windows XP leaves much to be desired with photo management, Mike Nash, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows Product Management, said Wednesday in a talk here at the InfoTrends Digital Imaging conference. On the list of gripes: XP lacks abilities to edit, archive, search, tag and edit images; it can't support the higher-end but unprocessed "raw" photos; transferring images to PCs is "slow and cumbersome"; and "color management was sketchy at best."

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.