Microsoft dashboard for LIVE services

Microsoft have started to test a new dashboard interface for their Live services (link is home.live.com) where a Windows Live user can get an overview of their personal Live account, i.e. emails – MSN contacts – blog postings and try out other online Microsoft services.

I have just logged in and given this a spin, and well, like any dashboard it was actually good to be able to see a top level view of my services but I was disapointed at the experiences in that when you click to view a service there is no way “back” to the dashboard, other than pressing the browser back button.  Well, that works so whats the problem ??? and isn’t that just a niggle rather than a complaint ???… well to me it does not project an intergrated all-in-one experience which is kind of what I would expect.  Plus if you try and edit your settings then pressing the back button does not return you to the dashboard…. I actually had to go through the history and select the “sign in” page (interestingly I never had to sign in again but at least I got to the dashboard).

What I did like was the fact Windows Live services are linked on the back end by a common contacts database.  So I can post a picture on Windows Live Spaces, its blog – and picture sharing site, and send a notice to anyone on my instant messaging contact list.  Plus it is actually very neat to have a portal view … not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination but as Windows Live has about 300 million users who frequently log in to IM or EMail then this can only be a very good move.

If only it tied into non-Microsoft services like GMail, Facebook, Twitter, etc etc etc  ๐Ÿ˜€

Passion-Centric or Object-Oriented community sites

Social networking sites are huge … how obviously is that statement !!!!   but I came across another side to this upsurge of sites which are known as “Passion-Centric” or “Object-Oriented”.  Lets paint the picture: “A San Francisco native who loves the beach, parks, running and dancing, Marco has easily made connections over the Internet, racking up 5,200 on his profile. Not bad for a 4-year-old Miniature Schnauzer.”

Marco is just one of thousands of dogs with a WEB profile on Dogster.com – which is simply an online community featuring pet photos, pet videos, diaries, tips etc etc etc.  Its sister site, catster.com, is the same thing for cat lovers and apparently pets are not the only thing targetted … sneakerplay.com is for, well, sneakers (trainers, runnng shoes .. whatever).

These are places for people with particular passions to share that passion and have a bit of fun … not just swap names, photos or “collect” friends.

I’m sure there are other passions represented …. but you may have to clear your browser cache afterwards !!  ๐Ÿ™‚

Spock.com

A new web search service has launched, but this one doesn’t provide results for the entire webโ€”it only provides results about people. Spock.com went into public beta today after several months of private testingand prides itself in providing the “richest people search experience on the web.”

This may sound creepy at first, but users are able to manage thier own profile pages and also import details from a number of other places, such as LinkedIn and MySpace as well as tags, pictures and contact lists.  So why is this different from say MySpace or Facebook?  Well, it seems that the general public can also tag your pictures and put information in about you, and as Wikipedia has learned this sort of Openness some members may choose to vandalise profiles with damaging or false information.  Spock say that information will be checked, but it is unclear how.

They claim to have already indexed 100 million people, with a new million each day and it is fair to say that a high percentage of these people will not be managing their own profiles.

Spotback news web site

SpotBack is a personalized news WEB site which, like MANY other personalized news WEB sites, lets you trawl through the news in areas of interest to you. You can set up news alerts to an email account filtered by key tags as well but what seems cool is the ability to follow music news, which if they have any mp3 links attached to will play for you. Nice idea.