Anyway, Microsoft is starting to create online services of its famous products - MSN messenger, Office - and also adding new online services, like online bookmarking, live safety center, onecare, mail. Microsoft is obviously feeling attacked, because while getting software to install on your PC to do all this stuff costs money, the online alternatives are free and more and more popular. I'm talking about the online bookmarking services offered by famous del.icio.us or furl, photo sharing offered by flickr, CRM solutions by Salesforce, online writing documents by Writely, spreadsheets sharing by Numsum and so many others.
So, Mr. Gates, the Live era started a while ago. You just want a piece of this pie too. That's why ideas.live.com was started in November and offers some live services (some still in beta) like:
- Windows Live Safety Center (beta). I must admit that this is one service that I like. It gives you the option to scan your PC online for viruses (you have to install a small program though), to scan your hard-drive to see if a defragmentation is needed and to scan for temporary files. This will be a free service but will promote their monthly paid service called OneCare (now in beta).
- Windows One Care Live (beta for U.S. only). This provides a two-way firewall, virus protection, backup service and monthly tune-ups for routine maintenance and optimal PC performance. When the final release will be out, it will be delivered for a monthly fee.
- Windows Live Messenger (beta). Windows Live Messenger will be the next-generation MSN Messenger. It will have: contact lists, emoticons, instant chat, voice chat, video chat and new ways to connect and share documents (this I think will be done via FolderShare, a product Microsoft purchased). This will be free, but I think they'll charge for some bandwidth on the video or voice chat.
- Windows Live Local (beta). The bird's eye feature really impressed me. For some major US cities you can zoom up to 25 yards!!! Of course, the main utility of this service is to provide maps, directions, and satellite photos. This is a screenshot of the Statue of Liberty from the Local.Live
- Windows Live Favorites (beta). A service that lets you get to your Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer Favorites from anywhere you’re online. Other features include: import your current Favorites and add new sites with one click.
- Live.com (beta). Hmm, I think I've seen something similar at Google's. You sign in and customize what content you want: news, sports, search results, etc. You can also add columns, and move stuff around. It’s some sort of portal.
- Xbox Live. One of the others live products. It's an online games portal for XBOX users. I'm not an XBOX user but they have some nice game previews in there.
- Office live. One of the last services, but not the least. It's not even in beta yet, but looks promising. Imagine creating any Office document and sharing it with other users. Maybe the Groove technology will be used in here, or that FolderShare's, but this sounds very interesting. "Microsoft Office Live will provide your company with its own domain name, Web site, and e-mail accounts for free. Additionally, Microsoft Office Live will offer you and your employees expert business management applications, such as customer, project, and document management tools, and a security-enhanced private Web site—affordably managed and maintained by Microsoft—where you can work together and share information with your employees, customers, suppliers, and contractors." Of course when the beta will be released in early 2006, will be available for US residents only. I think that those "additional" features will cost money.
That's about it for now, I'm sure these products will have an impact once they'll be stable. And we're waiting for more competition, hey Google when's that online operating system coming?
Well, you choose: windows live on Google