Is it me, or does ‘Windows Live’ cry out for an exclamation mark at the end? This is Microsoft’s new initiative of online, dynamic services in their attempt to take on the Googles and Yahoos of this world in the online space. You can see a small demo site here.
Now, let’s be clear about terms. When I say ‘new’, I mean ‘new to Microsoft’ - since the concept of a user-customisable portal system, pulling in content such as RSS feeds, shared documents and webmail, and paying for it through either subscription or advertising is very very old indeed. Been there, done that. I happen to dislike using online portal systems run by third parties, which have the nefarious ability to do things like scan the content of my email for potential marketing information (please don’t tell me you didn’t know GMail / Hotmail / Yahoo could do that) - if I want a persistent online repository, I do it using my own servers that I control. But even so, this concept is almost as old as the World Wide Web, and certainly nothing to get excited about. I was extremely underwhelmed by the beta site above, it doesn’t even come close to alternatives that have been around for some time already. And MS expect you to use this, with it’s inherent bias towards other MS solutions (echewing open source in particular) in preference to other more functional systems already available? Someone is having a laugh.