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 😀