Windows Live Spaces Coming This Summer

    March 24, 2006

LiveSide points to the MSN Spaces homepage, which now says:

Windows Live Spaces – the future of MSN Spaces
In the summer of 2006, we will unveil a more powerful version of MSN Spaces which will be called Windows Live Spaces! Stay tuned!

They also have an interview with Mike Torres, lead PM for MSN Spaces. In it he says:

  • There are 35 million Spaces and 100 million unique users (both bloggers and commenters and readers)
  • They aren’t trying to be the best blogging service, but to be a platform for all of your stuff that you want to share, for your digital self
  • Favorite feature: removing /members from the URL. Not big to most people, but shows he has an attention to detail.
  • Spaces Search is getting better, a lot of work going into making that a major feature
  • Many new features are done based on what users are asking for
  • Live Contacts is going to be a way to subscribe to a person’s information accross all services, getting that person’s contact info in Spaces, Live Mail, your mobile device, and that contact info would be updated whenever it changed
  • All the Xbox Live integration was the idea and work of an intern named Joe. I hope they hired him!
  • They don’t want to just rebrand as Windows Live Spaces. They want it to be a big deal, the first Live version, and something that users really like. Integration is going to be a big part. He says to expect something in the middle to the end of the year.
  • Spaces was designed that they could innovate very quickly
  • When asked about whether you’d be able to put Microsoft Gadgets on your blog, Mike says “I think it’s pretty obvious the Gadget investment is a pretty big one for Microsoft, and I can kind of just leave it at that”. Don’t be surprised to see Gadgets that can be dropped right into your Spaces page. They’re just worried about the security model (can’t exactly put your Hotmail inbox on a public site).

With 100 million people regularly using Spaces, when it moves over to Windows Live, that is going to be a huge deal. Many Spaces users don’t overlap with the early adopters currently using Windows Live, so Microsoft has a chance to get a lot of people to use Windows Live services.

The key for them should be twofold. First, to provide a release of Windows Live Spaces that reflects the entire platform, with integration into as many of the services as is feasible, and second, to ensure that when Spaces makes the jump, the most important features of Windows Live for Spaces users, like Live Messenger, Live Mail, Expo and CQA are all at the very least in public beta, so Spaces users can jump right in and get tied to the rest of the platform.

If managed well, Microsoft can get a lot of people to adopt Windows Live over Google or Yahoo by making a nice splash. While their software division continues to have troubles, the online units are doing a great job, and could be a big success story this year.

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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