Microsoft Testing Vine Beta
Microsoft has launched beta testing for a service called Vine, which was originally conceived after Hurricane Katrina. Some are comparing the service to Twitter, but I don’t exactly see the connection other than it lets you communicate with your friends, which could pretty much be said of any social network, email service, or telephone.
That said, I’m not sure many people will jump on the Vine bandwagon being how they already are communicating via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, email, phones, etc. While it can actually work with most of these, the fact that you have to download software to use it and create a new profile is already a strike against it.
Needless to say, there is some skepticism. "After 15 years of chasing Internet innovators, hasn’t Microsoft learned that it can’t do online what it did in the PC world (Crushing Netscape was the big exception, but that was 14 years ago now.)?" writes Henry Blodget at Silicon Alley Insider. "Does Microsoft really think there’s room for yet another social messaging service?"
The service described in Microsoft’s words:
The Microsoft Vine Beta connects you to the people and places you care about most, when it matters. Stay in touch with family and friends, be informed when someone needs help. Get involved to create great communities. Use alerts, reports and your personal dashboard to stay in touch, informed and involved.
The service described by me based on the demo video (which can be viewed here):
A program that you can use to stay in touch with friends and family if you want to download the software required to use it. If you want them to use it, you’ll also have to convince them to do so. You can also see local news stories about places where your friends and family live, as well as public safety announcements. You read these stories and announcements by clicking them to open them in a web browser.
Ideal situations for when you would want to use Vine according to a set of videos (available to be viewed here) provided by Microsoft include natural disasters, sick or dying family members, and labor. For some strange reason there is always pie involved.