Pingdom tracked 12 top social networking sites from October 19 to November 19, and found that Microsoft’s Live Spaces had the most downtime, with the site failing to respond for a total of three hours over the course of the month. By contrast, that’s more than Facebook (10 minutes), MySpace (10), Bebo (30), LiveJournal (40) and Orkut (85) combined, and worst on the list.
Number one was Yahoo 360, but that service was so unpopular it’s being closed, so I suspect the zero minutes of downtime can be attributed to zero server load.
LiveSide has the details on the Windows Live Admin Center, which replaces the old Live Custom Domains and lets you do more than just use a hosted Live Hotmail domain name. You can now customize all sorts of subdomains to Windows Live services, such as setting a blog.yoursite.com URL to a WIndows Live Space, or setting a maps.yoursite.com URL to a custom Live Maps Collection mashup.
Windows Live Spaces recently* added a What’s New page, which gives you the latest updates from your friends. Much like Facebook’s News Feed, it lets you know when your friends have added other friends, blogged something, uploaded photos or files, published lists and edited their profiles. While it isn’t perfect and is missing some things (like Events listings), its a much-needed feature.
Facebook’s News Feed made this a necessity for any social network, and its good to see Live Spaces take it on. While some people like to scream “rip-off!” every time someone, especially Microsoft, adds a feature someone else came up with, News Feed is such a game-changing feature that every network needs one now, or they can’t even compete. If you don’t know the power of the News Feed yet, friend me and some other people on Facebook and see how useful it becomes.
* – apologies on some slightly old news, but I’m having some tough times lately, and am slowly catching everything up. The big news will be current, everything else will be slightly older for another week, I guess.
Microsoft has updated Windows Live SkyDrive, apparently making it a sub-service under Windows Live Spaces. They’ve doubled the amount of free storage space to one gigabyte, and they’ve added RSS feeds for public storage folders. They’ve also made it easier to share folders with groups of people you know, letting you add both contacts from your contact list and any email address you enter.
I wonder if there’s a way to share audio or video files in a public folder and the RSS feed acts as a podcasting feed.
Microsoft launced Windows Live Events, a new service underneath Windows Live Spaces that lets you schedule events, invite your contacts and handle who’s coming.
When you click to create an event, you have to choose the type of event, which in turn give you a Live Spaces-like page template, completely ready with everything you’d normally want for an even of that type. In other words, you get a fully detailed page, customized to your type of event, with a single click.
Template types are:
Those are a lot of templates, and hopefully they’ll keep adding new ones, like a few missing religious events, and maybe someone will remind them that any wedding I get invited to online is a wedding I might not want to go to. Seriously, have you ever gotten an eVite to a wedding?
Anyway, besides choosing a template, you choose the date, time and place. Not only do you list the place, but you can add a Windows Live Map showing the exact location of the event. You enter the address and the map is automatically created, but if you don’t like where it places the pushpin and you want something more accurate, you can move it on the map to the exact right spot (like for a barbecue in the park).
You also get to choose a personalized web address of the style eventname.events.live.com. Talk about making it easy to remember and share the website!
Once your event is created, you can start inviting people, including sending it to your entire Hotmail contact list and anyone else. You can start customizing the page, including showing local weather. Events have a link to add it to Microsoft Outlook, Apple’s iCal, Yahoo Calendar or Google Calendar, as well as blog it to Windows Live Spaces. There’s a discussion board and space to upload photo albums.
If your page template doesn’t have a module you want, you can click to add it while customizing the page. You can add music and video, a blog, custom lists, custom HTML and an RSS feed. If you really want to get into it, you can do some serious editing and customization of everything on the page, or you can create a pretty advanced page with about twenty seconds of work.
If you’d like to see my fake barbecue event (there’s actually a real BBQ I’m holding at that time and place, but I don’t think you’d be interested), go here and see what a typical event listing is like. Feel free to invite yourself to see how it works.
Looks like a very powerful, yet very easy to use service. Considering the popularity of Windows Live Spaces, and the ease with which you can create a powerful page, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a big success. Check it out, and you’ll probably find its more worth using than eVite, and a lot of the features make it worth considering over Facebook.
Microsoft finally delivered the first Windows Live Suite, a single installer that allows you to install a number of Windows Live programs as a single download that updates regularly. Go to this site and configure your 1.8 megabyte download, picking from these products:
- Windows Live Mail – the ad-supported desktop email client that integrates well with Windows Live Hotmail, but lets you add any regular email account, plus RSS feeds, spell checking, PhotoMail and Windows Live Contacts. Replaces Outlook Express in Windows XP and Windows Mail in Windows Vista.
- Windows Live Photo Gallery – software for managing, finding, sharing, tagging and editing photos. Replaces Windows Photo Gallery in Vista and is a completely new feature for XP.
- Windows Live Writer – blog posting tool, supporting almost all popular blogging software. Considered one of the best products in its category.
- Windows Live Messenger – instant messaging, compatible with Yahoo Messenger. By getting it as part of the Suite, you don’t have to worry as much about installing new versions.
- Windows Live Sign-In assistant – required install, helps you sign in to Windows Live ID. When you visit a Windows Live ID site in your browser, the sign-in assistant can help out by displaying large buttons for various Live IDs and, in some cases, letting you just click on the account you want to sign in.
- Windows Live OneCare Family Safety – parental control software, allows parents to monitor and restrict a child’s internet access
- Windows Live Toolbar – Internet Explorer toolbar, very powerful toolbar for accessing Windows Live sites and services.
All the software included features newer updated versions. Live Messenger has some bugs fixed. Live Mail has a new List View for contacts, contacts import/export improvements, toolbar customization, Quick Views, improved Layout Dialog options, changing your sign in account, Photo E-Mail updates and Newsgroup updates.
Live Writer is hugely improved. The new version has video insertion (from Soapbox, including your own account, and other video websites), image uploading to Blogger/PicasaWeb, the ability to publish XHTML-style markup, 28 new languages, printing blog posts, justifying and aligning post text, and better image handling, including a fix for the blurry images problem, in addition to bug fixes and installation issues.
Live Photo Gallery gets improved color adjustment and cropping capabilities, image sharpening, shadow and highlight levels, image resizing, batch image resizing, a picture import tool that grabs pictures from your camera in a much better way than Vista or XP do, publishing photos to Windows Live Spaces and videos to MSN Soapbox. This is the first public beta of this software, also.
One complaint: The Suite is not yet available for 64-bit systems.
Curiously, the Suite offers to set your homepage to MSN.com, not Live.com, which probably indicates the change in strategy away from the personalized homepage.
Windows Live Spaces added two new photo capabilities. You can now upload images at higher resolutions than before, and even click to optimize photos for printing. The printing comes in handy due to the second feature, Snapfish integration. The feature lets you send off your uploaded photos to Snapfish in order to get prints of your photos.
Microsoft and Nokia announced an agreement bring Windows Live applications to the Nokia S60 phones in 11 countries. Customers will have the Windows Live Suite available on their phone, including Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger, Contacts and Spaces. LiveSide has some details and screenshots, including that Live Hotmail will not feature push email (it does have that on Windows Mobile phones), but that the phone’s camera can take pictures and video and attach them to emails.
The services included, from Phil Holden:
- Live Contacts. Once you sign in for the first time your Live Contacts is auto-magically synchronized within the address book of the Nokia device. As well as names, address’s, email and the other usual stuff what’s nice about this, and I think pretty unique is that the online presence and status of your contacts show up within the phone list. So now from within the device address book you can find whoever you want to communicate with and leverage the presence/status to determine the best way to reach them.
- Messenger. At sign-in you can change your online picture and your status. Once online you obviously can browse your messenger contacts and take part in multiple conversations as you would expect. What I love is that the services integrate features from within the phone, so when you are within a conversation you can send a voice clip, file or picture – either from the gallery or snap one with the camera. When I think about how powerful voice and pictures are this enables a great scenario for traveling: sign-in, find your friend and start conversation, then speak “hey honey, I just got into the hotel in Sydney, look at my amazing view” and then take a picture out of your hotel room of the Opera House.
- Hotmail. So here there is good integration with the Nokia email client and your Hotmail gets loaded into a separate folder within the client. Because the emails are downloaded they are available when you are offline. Right now your email isn’t synchronized auto-magically, but its a simple process to goto options, select sync etc. When you are composing an email, just like messenger the phone features are integrated so that you can insert a picture, voice clip, video or other phone right into the email message.
- Spaces. Not surprisingly there is good Spaces support. On Nokia devices there is an application called ‘online share’ which comes with plug-in’s for Flickr and Vox and now we added Spaces support. There is a simple process to activate the service by adding your Live ID and once that is done the Gallery is now Live enabled. It’s super easy, select the photo you want, goto options, open online service and it will promote you to add a title and text and the the image is load up to your blog.
My Opera web browser, normally the king of stability, crashed and completely screwed up my saved tabs, so I’m posting everything old right now, in order to set things right.
Wish a happy third birthday to Windows Live Spaces, celebrating three years in which it has become the biggest blogging service on the planet. Some stats from the blog:
- Over the past 3 years, we have grown the number of visitors to Spaces from 1 visitor when we launched the Beta version in August 2004 to over 115 million monthly users worldwide
- This month when one of you signed up for Spaces, you created the 100 millionth Windows Live space. This means that during the last 3 years, there have been over 100 million Windows Live spaces created for people to express themselves and share their thoughts, photos, and interests.
- With the latest release, Spaces is now available to people in 55 countries and in 33 different languages. It is amazing to see that over the last 3 years, there have been as many spaces created in Turkey as in Australia, Germany, or Taiwan. Looking back three years, Spaces was only available in 1 country.
My first impressions of Spaces, back in 2004, were that “Out of the box, users can do more with Spaces than Blogger”, “new users will be thrilled”, “Spaces is more than enough for 95% of bloggers, while the other 5% can use Blogger and Typepad”, “Spaces has a good chance at actually winning”, “Maybe Google had better create a smarter and more versatile interface for Blogger before it realizes Microsoft has stolen all of its users”.
I don’t always toot my own horn, but I was 100% on the money. Spaces has been tearing up the blogging marketplace, and it forced Google to renovate blogger after Microsoft stole all their users.
Microsoft has released a Halo 3 for Windows Live Spaces, letting you show off your unbrideled enthusiasm for the blockbuster game coming in less than six weeks. Go here to pick it up, or to get the Xbox theme and make a Live Space Master Chief would be proud of. If he wasn’t from the future. And fictional. And carrying a giant gun.
Yeah, he might shoot you. Maybe you should just keep it to yourself.
But seriously, it’s a cool theme. Check it out.
(via Xbox 360 Fanboy)
Some updates are going live on Windows Live Spaces tonight. Spaces is now available in 8 extra markets, there are options for birthday notifications for your contacts (Facebook does this well), a new ability to re-order lists (like moving something lower in your top ten), and new features on the Spaces home page. Also, new users who sign up for Windows Live IDs will automatically have a Windows Live Space reserved for them in their name, ready for them if they decide to use it.
Also, Windows Live Expo, their classified ads site, added the ability for anonymous users to contact sellers, widening potential buyers beyond those with Live IDs. They’ve also improved the search engine, returning search results that are more accurate and load 2-3 times as fast.
Windows Live Spaces is running the Get Real! Photo Contest, inviting Live Spaces users to post their best photos and win prizes. All entries will be judged based on community votes, with only amateur photopgraphers allowed to compete (a professional is anyone who makes more than 50% of their income from taking photos) in the contest, which runs through the end of June.
To enter, you need a Windows Live Space (which is free, of course). Upload photos to your Space, then go to the contest website and submit them for review. Up to 15 photos may be submitted per day by each person, and you cannot submit the same image twice. Users vote on their favorite photos, one vote per day, with daily, weekly and grand prizes given out to the top vote getters in each period (you can only win each type of prize once, but you can theoretically win one each of all three).
The daily prize is a Digital Framez digital photo frame, estimated value $109. 48 will be given out.
The weekly prize is a Canon Powershot SD800 IS 7.1 megapixel digital camera, estimated value $359. 7 will be given out.
The grand prize is a Toshiba 42-inch HD LCD TV and a Canon Powershot G7 digital camera, estimated value $1,700.
Windows Live Spaces is doing a road trip, and they’d like you to apply to be a part of it. They’re holding open casting calls, and you can RSVP for an in-person casting call at their website. The road trip is being done along with the Live Earth concert, which Microsoft is a partner with, and they mention they are looking for people comfortable with riding a bike through city streets who care about the planet and can travel between May 28 and July 10.
The person chosen will get $5,000, money for food and lodging, a powerful laptop and digital camera, as well as great seats to the Giants Stadium Live Earth concert. You’ll have to chronicle your journey on Windows Live Spaces.
Naturally, I applied. I’m great for the environment, since I can’t drive and am too broke to afford anything bad for the planet. I don’t even use paper much. So long as my wife can come along, or is okay with not seeing me for a lot of June, I think I can do this. Besides, I want to work for Microsoft, and this seems as good a way as any.
Casting calls are at:
Boston, MA – May 14th 10am-4pm
Hotel Commonweath 617.933.5000
500 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MAÂ 02215
New York, NY – May 15th – 10AM – 4PM
Mr. Youth HeadquartersÂ 212.779.8700
@ Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue; 4th Floor
New York NY 10011
Chicago, IL – May 17th – 10AM – 4PM
Mike Ditka’s Chicago: 312-587-8989
100 East Chestnut Street
Chicago IL 60611
Los Angeles, CA – May 18th – 10AM – 4PM
Omni Hotel: 213-617-3300
251 South Oliver Street
Los Angeles CA 90012
NBC and Windows Live Spaces are giving away a pack of signed scripts to many popular NBC shows, including Heroes, My Name Is Earl, Law and Order, Medium and Las Vegas. Signatures include Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Josh Duhamel, James Caan, Jesse L. Martin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow.
To win, all you have to do is answer this trivia question and send the answer in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “NBC Autographed Scripts” as the subject:
Which “Heroes” star was nominated for a 2007 Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe Award for his or her role on the show?
Send in your answer by 12:01 am next week Friday to get a chance to win all nine scripts.
The shows: “Heroes,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Medium,” “Las Vegas,” “The Black Donnellys” and “Twenty Good Years,” which means cool scripts and the John Hancocks of celebs like Masi Oka, Adrian Pasdar, Hayden Panettiere, Milo Ventimiglia, Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Kyle Chandler, Zach Gilford, Josh Duhamel, Molly Sims, Vanessa Marcil, James Caan, Jesse L. Martin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow!
(via Fi-Sci > Digg)
The recent update to Windows Live Spaces contained a new interface for mobile devices, designed to make it easy to see what is going on among your friends while on the go. The Space Craft blog has these screenshots:
Navigating a Space:
View info on your friends:
More friend stuff:
Microsoft is determined to make Spaces a really good blogging service for mainstream users, as well as a serious competitor to MySpace and Facebook, and thus far it is succeeding (based on how many people are using it). It may not be as good as those service sare within their respective spheres, but for more mainstream users, Spaces might be the best service available.
Oh, and Spaces blogs still won’t render right in Opera. Anyone fixing this?
LiveSide and the official blog report on all the changes going on at Windows Live Spaces, many of which are designed to turn it into a better social network, including:
- New home page showing people in your network, things that are happening (like a “news feed”) like new comments, messages, requests. Take a look:
- A What’s New page with even more info on what your friends are up to, showing who’s updated their Spaces and links to contact cards.
- Better customization options for messing with the look of your Live Space, including the ability to set any image as your background.
There are also new themes, a color picker, and the ability to change the fonts. They aren’t going to change Live Spaces into the eyesore that is MySpace, but they are giving users a lot more control over their pages.
- A Guestbook feature, basically like Walls in Facebook or MySpace, where people can just leave comments on your page.
- A new Messaging feature, letting you send private messages to people you meet on Live Spaces.
- More options for Gadgets and Modules, letting you set them to be the width of a column, removing borders, changing titles, multiples of the same Gadget.
- If you are on someone else’s Space and see a cool module, you can click a + sign to get it on yours.
Also, as LiveSide writes:
- Improvements to photo management, including a new page for viewing and editing albums on your space, and a new layout for individual photos pages, making it easier and faster to view your photos and see all comments at a glance.
- Improved Mobile interaction with Spaces, including the ability to see at a glance recent updates and comments on your space, add, delete, view, and browse your friends, and view profile information, all from your mobile device.
- Book and music lists are improved, and they look better in narrow view
- Some dev improvements, too: including individual rss feeds for profiles, photo albums, blog categories, top-level directories, friends, and lists; a new set of APIs for sending messages, adding gadgets, and adding modules; and support for one-click customization of gadgets when added to a space.
See more info and more screenshots at the SpaceCraft blog (all the screenshots came from there).
One bad thing about the new changes: All Spaces appear to be broken in Opera, not able to scroll down more than one page. Hopefully they’ll fix that.
In other Spaces stuff, you can add a Twitter Gadget to Spaces:
Install it here, and it works for Live.com, too. There’s also a Windows Live Messenger add-in that links your Live Messenger status info and Twitter status. Very cool.
Does anyone know if this story is true?
Turns out Microsoft pimps out its Spaces bloggers, photos included, in ads on Match.comâ€”without their consent or knowledge.
Well, that is interesting. Does Microsoft have the right to use the likeness of Spaces users in advertising, especially on a dating site? And even if the user agreement allows for this, there’s no way Spaces users would be happy finding out their stupid smiling faces are being used on major websites. I wonder if this one is going to blow up in Microsoft’s face…
Rob Dolin hopped on his blog last night and explained why he created TestMash.com
: As part of a Microsoft Search Mashup days event
, where Microsofties meet up and brainstorm on cool things to do with search.
Since I’m using public API’s, I figured I might as well grab a domain (www.testmash.com) and some web space and maybe even work on some of these in my spare time since I’m really excited by possibilities around mashing-up search and social network data.
P.S. I don’t know if any of these ideas will ever get coded and shipped by the Spaces or Live Search teams, but if there’s something you think is cool (or something you think would be cool with a few tweaks), I’m all ears and I think a few other people are too
Sounds great to me. If the APIs are really as powerful as it seems, and you can build something like TestMash, then I really hope someone does it. What I really hope, though, is that attention paid to what Rob’s done at TestMash makes its way into a real, advanced search engine for Windows Live Spaces. Right now, Spaces doesn’t have much of a search engine, which doesn’t jibe with what the rest of Windows Live has, and doesn’t even match the awful offerings from MySpace.
Spaces can really differentiate itself from MySpace with an amazing advanced search engine. I know Windows Live Spaces isn’t exactly hurting for users, but this is an opportunity to really improve the product, and I say take it. Keep in mind: Google powers MySpace search, so if you can show them up, that would be worth it all by itself.