We've hunted down five of Microsoft's newer web services that we think deliver better functionality than those offered by Google and other competitors. So check out these Windows Live hidden gems.
Microsoft's web services are so often overlooked that they're just about the software giant's best kept secret.
But Microsoft is no web-service slouch, and proved this with the launch of Office Web Apps this week.
Microsoft also offers cool mapping tools, and desktop productivity software for making your data and core applications available anywhere on multiple devices, such as netbooks, smartphones, or PCs at an internet café.
For this article I hunted down five of Microsoft's newer web services that I think deliver better functionality than those offered by Google and other competitors.
I've also added a couple of tips related to the Hotmail overhaul that's expected to roll out soon.
Get Office Web Apps right now
Office Web Apps, which were launched a week ahead of the scheduled launch of Office 2010, are free, online versions of Microsoft's popular Office programs - namely, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote - that you can access from a web browser.
All you need to get started is your Windows Live ID and a document to upload to Windows Live SkyDrive.
First, go to skydrive.live.com, and click Add files above your SkyDrive folders. Next, select a folder and upload the file you want to use from your desktop. Afterwards, you'll see a page showing the contents of your SkyDrive folder. Select the document you uploaded, and then click the 'edit in browser' option.
This command will take you to the corresponding web app for your document type, where you can begin editing.
You can also create new documents in your browser by clicking the 'new' drop-down menu at the top of the folder-contents view.
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