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MSN Video Surges Into Second Place

MSN Video is now the second most popular video brand on the internet, following a 25.3% traffic surge in October. MSN jumped to 35 million users, giving it 9% market share, good enough for #2 in an area heavily dominated by Google’s YouTube. Yahoo is half a percentage point behind Google. If Microsoft can sustain big gains for a few more months, they could pull away to become the indisputed top at the “Best of the Rest”.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by | MSN, Soapbox | no comments



MSN Goes Green With New Channel

Microsoft has launched a new website called MSN Green, available at green.msn.com. MSN Green will be a channel for MSN to aggregate news and features on environmental issues from a lot of Microsoft content partners, including articles (from MSNBC, Conservation International, Environmental Defense, Grist.org, TreeHugger.com and Hearst Magazines, among others), plus:

Tools. Interactive tools featured on the channel help inspire people to take a stand on the environment. For example, MSN Green visitors can determine the amount of carbon dioxide their lifestyle produces (the carbon calculator), measure how green they are (the Green-o-meter), gauge their awareness of eco-issues (the Eco-Footprint quiz), and add their name to an online petition to freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions (Stop Global Warming Virtual March).

Photos. Galleries of photos culled from around the Web will show, rather than tell, the effects of climate change. Other recurring pictorials will spotlight eco-friendly places to live; how to live a greener lifestyle; and celebrities, politicians and others who are leading the green charge.

Videos. Amateur and professional video clips from MSN Video and partner Web sites will spotlight the environment, climate change and other green topics.

October 31st, 2007 Posted by | MSN | one comment

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MSN Video Has Hulu Channel

Hulu, the News Corp/NBC video content distribution network, has launched, and with it come deals with other websites, including AOL and MSN Video. MSN TV has a Hulu channel, featuring some full length TV show episodes and movies, including 30 Rock, Weekend at Bernie’s, Back To You and such. I’d give a full list if MSN Video worked in any browser I own (including Internet Explorer), but since I can’t, check it out for yourself and let me know how it works out.
(via Jordan McCollum)

October 31st, 2007 Posted by | MSN | no comments

Soapbox Becomes Part Of MSN Video

Microsoft is in a consolidating mood, rolling MSN Soapbox, its user-uploaded video site, into MSN Video, which makes complete sense, since the two have been using identical (and excellent) interfaces for months. Besides the new combined branding, the latest release of Soapbox includes user notification when videos have been flagged and removed for copyright violations, much faster encoding times (so your videos go live sooner after you upload them), and a new mini-Showcase, where editors show off the best videos on the front page.
(via LiveSide)

October 1st, 2007 Posted by | MSN, Soapbox | one comment

MSN SideGuide To Be Used For Free Wifi

Microsoft has released the first version of MSN SideGuide, the first version of a special sidebar users install in order to be able to use free ad-supported wifi networks it is testing in Portland and Oakland. The sidebar contains links to related MSN content, a small ad, MSN/MSNBC headlines, another small ad, and a Windows Live Search box at the top.

The idea is that in order to use the free wifi, you must install and run SideGuide. SideGuide analyzes what you are browsing and displays relevant links and targeted advertisements on the side of your screen in order to pay for the wifi (paying for it both with the ads in SideGuide, and Microsoft-provided ads behind the links you may also click).

SideGuide takes away a portion of the left or right side of your screen while you are browsing the web, and hides itself if you run a program other than a web browser (currently, it detects IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari browsers). If you close SideGuide, you lose your wifi connection.

I wonder, if the concept proves successful, some ISPs would consider providing free or cheaper internet connections to users with similar products installed. Nobody likes the idea of ad bars on their screen, but this is less obtrusive than those giant banner ads older services used, enough so that it might be worth it for some.

September 20th, 2007 Posted by | General, MSN | no comments

Microsoft Top Online Company

nielsen-netratings-most-popular-websites.png

Nielsen/Netratings came out with its latest numbers on the most popular websites, dividing the numbers into two charts. On one, they list the top parent companies, that is the top entire audience served by a company across all its websites, domains and brands. On the other, they list the top brands, that is the biggest audiences under a single brand name. An example is that, on the first list, Microsoft and MSN/Windows Live are combined, while on the second, they are seperate, competing brands.

Microsoft did well on both lists, but took first place on the company list, with a 118 million person audience, beating Google by 1.1 million users. On the brand chart, Microsoft made third place with 95 million, falling short of Google and Yahoo by 15-17 million. Microsoft’s MSN/Windows Live unit also took fourth place, garnering 94 million users. In theory, this means MSN/Live’s 94 million audience ovelaps with Microsoft’s over 80% of the time, with 24 million users uniquely different between the two.

September 11th, 2007 Posted by | Google, Live, MSN, Windows | no comments



MSN Mobile Adds Live Baseball, Gossip

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Some new stuff just shipped for MSN Mobile, the phone/mobile device MSN portal. The first, courtesy of FOX Sports and Major League Baseball, gives you Gametrax on your phone, letting you track a baseball game that is currently being played. You can access MSN Mobile on your computer by clicking here, and go here (clicking FOX Sports, then MLB to get there on your phone) for a list of current games. If one is being played right now, click [details] to follow it live. Enormously cool.

The other new thing is a section called “Hot Gossip” under Entertainment, for following the latest dirt on the famous. You know, if you’re obsessed with that sort of thing. Also, you can search for celebrities by name to see photo galleries and movies they’ve been in, search for movies to read a synopsis and reviews, and see movies currently in theatres listed by release date, with newest releases listed first.

This is all available on any mobile device with a web browser, just head to m.msn.com (or mobile.msn.com, or msn.mobi, whatever you like) and cancel that baseball game tracking application your cell company charges you for.

* – A note: The Mets are in the middle of the first inning, four batters into a game, and MSN Mobile hasn’t started tracking it yet.

UPDATE: One minute later, they finally got in. They’re currently caught up with the game, but nothing’s happening. We’ll see how quick they are.

UPDATE 2: Wow, they’re about one pitch behind MLB.com’s Gameday tracker. That’s damn good.

August 30th, 2007 Posted by | MSN | no comments

MSN Election Podium Launches With Silverlight

MSN Election Podium in Silverlight

MSN’s Election 2008 website has launched a new section, called The Podium ’08, which lets you compare the many different candidates running for President. The best part: The whole thing runs on Silverlight, and looks great.

Besides the great animated flag background (how can I make that into a DreamScene?), The Podium lets you choose a candidate at the top and get a list of Windows Live Search results showing the latest news on that candidate. There is a list of issues on the right (abortion, economy, environment, health care, immigration, Iraq and stem cell research), and selecting one of those will switch the results to those that will help you understand that candidate’s stand on that issue.
(via Sean Alexander)


I discovered a curious practice of Silverlight. Apparently, it automatically elevated the priority of Internet Explorer from Normal to Above Normal, and retakes the high priority almost immediately, even if you try to switch it. That is annoying and unnecessary, and if Silverlight can’t run properly without the high priority, then that is a flaw in the software that needs to be fixed, not hacked around.

August 30th, 2007 Posted by | MSN, Silverlight | no comments

MSN.com Goes All Powerpoint 2007

Microsoft has done it again, transforming MSN.com into an Office 2007 program. This time, though, it’s not Word, but Powerpoint. You’re able to change a chart on the page into several different styles, then change the color scheme used by the chart. The point of the promo is to show how easy it is to make professional graphics in Office 2007, using just two clicks to make it look however you want.

Take a look at the progression (click it to enlarge):

MSN-as-Powerpoint-2007

Get over to MSN.com right now before it goes away to try it out.
(via Long Zheng)

August 21st, 2007 Posted by | Applications, General, MSN, Office | no comments

MSN Makes You Into A Cartoon

msn-cartoon-faces.png

MSN China is running a hugely cool MSN Cartoon beta that will take any photo of you and turn you into a cartoon. Really, really sweet, and the cartoons that come through look great. It’s all in Chinese (as it should be), so you’ll need to do exactly what you see in this video to get through it, but when you’re done, you’ll have your cartoon face with 14 different facial expressions.


Video: MSN Cartoon Beta screencap

Just a note: The cartoon above is based on my regular hair, not my post-marriage long hair. I’m considering chopping off the pony tail anyway…
(via LiveSide)

August 14th, 2007 Posted by | MSN | 4 comments

MSN Comes To Windows Live

Danny Sullivan discovered a new button on Windows Live Search, one for MSN. The new button searches just MSN.com sites (or the MSN of the country you are in), and is probably the result of heavy customer feedback. I imagine MSN users discovering Live.com found it lacking connections to the MSN site they like, so Microsoft decided to close the gap between the two services by adding MSN search to Live Search.

August 9th, 2007 Posted by | Live, MSN, Search, Windows | 2 comments



Gatineau Finally Revealed With Screenshots

Dave Naylor has posted the first verified screenshots of Microsoft codename “Gatineau”, the in-development web analytics service that has sounded great but been shrouded in secrecy. Take a look at his screenshots:

Dave Naylor screenshot 1

Dave Naylor screenshot 2

Dave Naylor screenshot 3

You can see Gatineau built into AdCenter, funnels and goals, very interesting and great looking graphs, and demographic data (including gender).

Ian Thomas confirmed the screenshots, and has confirmed Microsoft’s biggest killer feature yet for Gatineau, the demographic data on your website visitors. If someone comes to your site logged into their Windows Live ID, Microsoft will use their own data on that person in your analytics report. You won’t have access to the Live ID date, or know who it was that visited, but Microsoft will give you aggregate stats like gender, age, that sort of thing, stats you absolutely can’t get anywhere else. I love it.

July 23rd, 2007 Posted by | General, MSN | 2 comments

MSN Travel Gets Farecast Predictions

LiveSide is reporting that MSN Travel has teamed up with Farecast to bring Farecast’s airline fare predictions to MSN users. Visitors to MSN Travel will see a box with fares that are good buys (because they will be more expensive soon), and a link to an MSN-branded version of Farecast. Farecast joins other companies, like Expedia, Frommer’s and Travel+Leisure, who provide their information to MSN’s userbase.

July 17th, 2007 Posted by | MSN | no comments

MSN Live Earth Streaming A Success

MSN streamed the Live Earth concert even this past weekend, and by all accounts it was a success. Microsoft claims it connected more than 10 million streams, the most simultaneous viewers of any online concert ever. The worldwide audience tuned in to see concerts in New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Hamburg and acts including The Police, Genesis, Bon Jovi and Madonna, Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas and Jack Johnson.

Steve Lamb writes that you can see a replay of all the performances now at liveearth.msn.com. Harrison Hoffman details the Soapbox-powered website created by MSN for the concerts, which uses some pretty cool design in making it easy to find the music you are interested in.

Shame then that I can’t the damn thing to run. Must be network congestion, or something.

July 9th, 2007 Posted by | General, MSN | one comment

Free Live Earth Gamer Pictures On Xbox Live

Xbox Live now has some free Live Earth Gamer Pictures for you to enjoy on your Xbox 360, far better than those GTA IV pics that are just going to get you in trouble with your girlfriend.

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Am I the only person who sees the Live Earth logo and think of the Simpsons Movie and its donut logo?

Anyway, all these via Major Nelson, and can be downloaded free from the Xbox Live Marketplace. And don’t forget Live Earth, streaming live on MSN tomorrow.

July 6th, 2007 Posted by | MSN, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | no comments

Microsoft Readying AdCenter Accreditation Program

Dave Naylor is reporting that Microsoft is running a pilot program testing out accreditation for MSN AdCenter. Dave was with the AdCenter team, and they explained to him about AdExcellence, which you can expect at adexcellence.com when it launches. He can’t say much, due to an NDA, but the AdCenter blog will have information. Expect it to be similar to Google AdWords’ Advertising Professional program.
(via Search Engine Land)

July 3rd, 2007 Posted by | Advertising, General, Google, MSN | no comments

New MSN Mobile Launches

MSN has launched a new MSN mobile portal, located at mobile.msn.com. You get a single column page, automatically sized to your phone’s screen, that shows from top to bottom lots of information. Just scroll all the way down, and you get a search box, links to popular services, top news from MSNBC, weather, FOX Sports news, stock quotes and entertainment news. Nothing as cool as the Windows Live Search application for mobile devices, but a solid homepage with a lot of useful information.

See more about it here.



June 20th, 2007 Posted by | MSN, Windows Mobile | no comments

Soapbox Outage Causes Videos To Be Marked Infringing

Jamie Thomson blogged about a video he uploaded to Soapbox, only to see it marked as a breach of copyright and locked against viewing or embedding. The video in question was a screencast titled “Consuming a web service in SQL Server Integration Services 2008″, which contains crucial moments from the season finales of Lost, 24, and a very special Blossom, or, maybe, just maybe, it contained nothing but video of software being used on a computer screen.

You can see the video on YouTube here:

Obviously, the video wasn’t a copyright infringer, so why did it get flagged? Is there a bug in the system, triggering massive amounts of false positives and pissing off users? Nope, nothing so dramatic. I’ve been having my own troubleshooting issue with the Soapbox team, and was just told that indeed Jamie’s video was unfortunately the victim of “an outage that caused people’s videos to be marked as copyright”.

They’ve fixed the problem, and that means Jamie’s video is back on Soapbox, keeping the entire computing world riveted to their monitors:


Video: Consuming a web service in SQL Server Integration Services 2008

June 19th, 2007 Posted by | General, MSN, Soapbox | no comments