||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (January 2013)|
Windows Photo Gallery 2012
|Stable release||2012 (v16.4.3508.205) / May 14, 2013|
|Operating system||Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8|
|Platform||x86-compatible with SSE2|
|Type||Image organizer, image viewer, raster graphics editor and photo sharing|
Windows Photo Gallery provides management, tagging, and searching capabilities for digital photos. It provides an image viewer that can replace the default OS image viewer, and a photo import tool that can be used to acquire photos from a camera or other removable media. Windows Photo Gallery also allows sharing of photos by uploading them to SkyDrive, Flickr and Facebook.
Windows Photo Gallery provides the ability to organize digital photo collection in its Gallery view, by adding titles, rating, captions, and custom metadata tags to photos. There is also limited support for tagging and managing video files, though not editing them.
Windows Photo Gallery uses the concept of hierarchical tagging (e.g. People/Jim, Places/Paris) to organise photos. Deleting a tag from Windows Photo Gallery will also remove it from all photos in the utility. Adobe Systems's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) metadata standard, a descendent of the ubiquitous Exif standard which almost all digital cameras currently support, is also supported. This allows for data such as the tags to be stored and edited much more efficiently than EXIF or IPTC.
Since Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011, geotagging and people tagging (with facial detection and recognition) is also supported.
Windows Photo Gallery allows photos to be edited for exposure or color correction. It also provides other basic photo editing functions, such as resizing, cropping, and red-eye reduction. Users can view a photo's color histogram, which allows them to adjust the photo's shadows, highlights and sharpness. Further, Windows Photo Gallery also includes editing tools such as blemish remover and noise reduction.
Windows Photo Gallery also supports the ability to batch resize photos, where multiple photos can be resized in one single action, as well as the ability to rotate videos.
Windows Photo Gallery is based on the PIX engine which uses the Windows Imaging Component (WIC) library. The application has native metadata handling and tagging support and since the Windows Imaging Component is extensible, it can organize and view any image format for which a third party WIC codec is installed. By default, it can view JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and HD Photo images, as well as most common video formats. QuickTime videos are also supported when QuickTime 7 is installed. RAW image formats used by high-end professional cameras are also supported by installing their respective WIC codecs. Windows Photo Gallery also supports ICC V4 embedded color profiles and has Windows Color System support. However, legacy image formats such as WMF and EMF do not have their respective codecs available in WIC, and therefore cannot be viewed by default. Windows Photo Gallery can also view GIF images, but it shows animated GIFs as individual frames instead of a continuous animation.
The application started development in December 2001 as a new "Photo Library" offering (code named "POD") that was added to the established "Picture It!" product. The combination was released under the name "Digital Image Suite". This was the first photo organization and management tool offered by Microsoft. It was released with Digital Image Suite 9 on June 3rd, 2003.
The second version was released on June 12th, 2004
The third and final version branded Photo Library was released April 22nd 2005. A further "Anniversary edition" that included Windows Vista compatibility fixes was released August 18th, 2006.
The first version of Windows Photo Gallery was included with all editions of Windows Vista and replaced Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. Themed photo slideshows with smooth transitions were only available in the Home Premium and Ultimate editions.
With the release of Windows 7, Microsoft decided not to bundle Photo Gallery within the operating system. Instead, Windows 7 came bundled with a software called Windows Photo Viewer, which has the editing capabilities of Windows Photo Gallery removed. The full suite of Photo Gallery was released as part of the Windows Live Essentials software suite instead, and as such, the application was also renamed as "Windows Live Photo Gallery". The first version of Windows Live Photo Gallery beta was released on June 27, 2007, and the final version released on November 6, 2007.
Windows Live Photo Gallery 2009 came out in beta with the rest of Windows Live Essentials 2009 beta in September 2008, with a new interface. On December 15, 2008, the "beta refresh" versions of Windows Live Essentials 2009 applications were released including Photo Gallery. This release included many changes since the previous beta release based on user feedback. A significant visual change in this release was the introduction of a new application icon which added a common design theme to all the Windows Live Essentials applications. The words "beta" was removed from the build number. On January 7, 2009, the "beta refresh" versions were released as the final versions, with the exception of Windows Live Movie Maker.
Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011 beta was released by Microsoft, along with the rest of Windows Live Essentials 2011 beta, on June 24, 2010. The 2011 version features new additions such as facial recognition, image stitching, geotagging, batch people tagging, blemish remover and noise reduction. The beta refresh was released on August 18, 2010, and the final version of Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011 was released with the final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011 on September 30, 2010. It was updated with a hotfix (along with the rest of Essentials except for Mesh and Family Safety) on December 1, 2010.
The Wave 5 version was released on August 7, 2012. It dropped the Live part of the title, and is known officially as Windows Photo Gallery 2012. The new version added the AutoCollage feature which allow users to select up to 50 images and automatically create a collage of their images, as well as inclusion of the Vimeo publishing plugin, which allow users to easily upload their videos to Vimeo.