Archive for April, 2006
A9 (Amazon’s search engine) and Alexa (online traffic monitoring service) have now replaced Google as their default search engine with Windows Live Search. There’s no official information about this change and it’s only seems to be viewable for people from the US but this is the first major success for the new Windows Live Search, the replacement for MSN Search especially as the A9 search engine powers web search at Amazon.com and IMDB.com.
Microsoft has now launched the Windows Live Shopping Service.
Today we launch the brand new Windows Live Shopping site!
What is it? It is the beta launch of Microsoft’s Web 2.0 shopping experience, featuring one of the world’s largest product catalogs, user-created content and an easier-to-use interface built on 100% AJAX technology. It uses a unified shopping engine to search or browse almost 40 million products from 7,000 stores ranging from many of the country’s leading retailers to eBay. Results are displayed in an order that is not affected by advertising; merchants cannot pay to have their items show up closer to the top. Users will be able to drag-and-drop items to a shopping list and share lists with friends; see user reviews of products and sellers; and read and create public shopping guides on any subject.
What features are we most excited about for this beta release? Oh my, there are many, but drag and drop, lists and guides are super cool in our book. Enhanced preview is another cool feature, allow users to get the details of an item without having to click to a details page. With guides, users can create shopping guides about any subject and link to any set of products in Windows Live Shopping, adding their own comments and insights. Users can rate other users’ guides for their helpfulness. Top-rated guides will be displayed in relevant contexts in Windows Live Shopping.
What is our vision? In the future, Windows Live Shopping will continue to offer the great comparison shopping services you see today, while also integrating more social and community features that will enable users to better research, share, and have fun with their shopping experiences. AJAX will allow us to execute against this vision with a rich user interface that is modularized to capitalize on the gadgets craze. This Beta offering is just the tip of the iceberg.
Come take a look around http://shopping.live.com/ and please let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you!
The week-long anti-competition hearing involving Microsoft and the European Commission has finished – with neither side willing to predict the outcome.
Microsoft is appealing against a 2004 ruling when Brussels told it to change how it sells its Media Player software and fined it 497m euros ($613m; £344m).
The Court of First Instance may not deliver a verdict until early 2007.
Defeat could damage the Commission’s authority as a competition regulator or Microsoft’s future business model.
Microsoft lawyers spent much of the hearing arguing that its fine should be rescinded and that it should not have to produce a version of its Windows operating system without the Media Player software.
They also argued against the 2004 ruling’s stipulation that Microsoft should share information about Windows with rival software companies.
The Commission’s advocates told the court that the fine was needed as a deterrent and that Microsoft was abusing its market leading position in the desktop software market to stifle competition.
Both sides left the court saying the case was too close to call.
“It would be a mistake to try and predict the outcome and I won’t try to do so,” said Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith.
Commission counterpart Cecilio Madero said he wouldn’t “speculate about the end result”.
When a verdict is eventually produced, Microsoft would still have the chance to make a further appeal to the European Court of Justice.
In the meantime, the Commission is threatening the software giant with fines of up to 2m euros a day if it is found to have delayed its compliance with the anti-competition ruling.
Microsoft has the added headache of the dispute overshadowing one of its most important software launches in years – that of its new operating system, called Vista, and a new suite of business software, Office 2007, due to make a simultaneous consumer debut early next year.
Via: BBC News
The Windows Live/Msn Uk Team has now launched a new Windows Live promotion site called “The Insider Club” were you can win some pretty cool prizes, including Windows Live VOIP Phones which are valued at around $100.
Check it out now: http://www.insiderclub.co.uk
I was going to wait until the anniversary of my blog which is also my birthday, to change to another wordpress theme for my blog but I just found out that the blog theme Lush for Typo has now been ported to wordpress so I guess it was something I couldn’t resist so I installed it and I must say it’s looking pretty good, I hope you all agree!
If you don’t like it let me know, but please note that there are some things I must fix still!
Features This theme has a lot of features that set it apart from the majority of free weblog templates:
- 100% custom design. Every pixel was designed especially for this theme. That means all graphics are unique.
- extensive browser support including IE5/5.5′s broken box model
- Special graphical notice for users of IE5/5.5 encouraging them to upgrade their browser. It’s only visible when using one of these browsers.
- alternating trackback styles
- print stylesheet for perfect article printing
- customized live search
- customized table-less comment form
- customized categories page
- various script.aculo.us visual effect enhancements
- adjustable font size for improved readability
- full gravatar support including a fallback default gravatar that fits with the theme
- XHTML 1.0 Strict
- A nice easter egg
- Builtin support for Ultimate Tag Warrior, Gravatar, flickRSS and time since.
- Support for WordPress Widgets
Via: Jeriko One
Just a minute ago or so I was just loading up the Microsoft Connect website to submit a suggestion for the Windows Live Mail Desktop as I’m now a managed beta tester and well as I was looking around I thought I would check to see if any new beta programs had been added, I had only checked about half an hour ago or so, so I didn’t think there would be any but to my surprise there was three new ones:
Windows Live Beta Tester Community
Test – Edited Test
Now you can guess what one caught my eye, that’s right the Windows Live Beta Tester Community, I’m not exactly sure what the Windows Live Beta Tester Community beta program is but I guess it’s a feedback page for submitting feedback for all of the live services, though I cant be for sure so we shall just have to wait and see if they update it!
I haven’t blogged about any social networking sites for quite a while now, well I guess except Ziki which I finally blogged about not long ago after I was testing it for a month, and if you haven’t tried Ziki yet I recommend you do because it’s pretty cool.
Anyway as I was saying, I haven’t blogged about any social networking sites for quite a while now so I thought I would tell you about this new social networking site called blahblahbox created by 15 year old Stephanie Meagher.
Stephanie believes that there is no reason why blahblahbox couldn’t be as big or popular as myspace, tagworld or bebo. As it does pretty much everything that they do and a bit more!
So what can I say, except Good Luck I wish her all of the best with it because I believe that if you try hard enough at something you’ll eventually accomplish it, all it takes is a little time and your own belief in yourself that you can do it!
Here’s a press release from steph’s site:
Girl, 15, Sets Out To Be the Next Social Networking Success Story
Most teenagers are happy to spend time using Myspace, Stephanie Meagher, 15 wants to go one step further. She wants to one day own a website as successful as Myspace and has set up blahblahbox to achieve this. “I love the idea of people all over the world connecting and making friends. I do it myself on Myspace all the time and it would be fantastic to be behind a community like that.” says Stephanie, who took a year out from school to make her dream come true.
The Rock Hut, her first attempt at a community site failed. “I was using Xoops, a freely available script, but in the end Xoops was too limited and the site didn’t do what I wanted it to do.” say Stephanie, who now uses that site to bring visitors to blahblahbox.
“I wanted something really easy to use that could do everything Myspace did and a little bit more.” comments Stephanie. Blahblahbox is run on a script she traded for, having no money to pay for it. The teenager acknowledges that trying to compete with a site as big as Myspace is a momentous task. “I’ve still got to add a video upload service and also a bands signup function. But these are coming and when they arrive, blahblahbox will match any of the big social networking sites in terms of what members can do!” As it is, blahblahbox has some extra features that makes it unique. Members can flirt anonymously and design their profile using a built in profile generator.
She plans to sign up 100,000 members over the next six months. “It will be difficult to get members with no money to invest. It has taken me six months to get his far and I’ve got another six months before I return to school. All of that time will be spent marketing blahblahbox in any way I can. I really want to make it a success.” says Stephanie.
Ultimately, she takes a long term view on the site and concludes, “If blahblahbox has one million users by the time I’m 20 I’ll be happy and I’ve got five years to work on that …”
Via: Blahblahbox Blog
So some people have been asking me lately what is live.com, what’s new, what can it do that other services can’t, were is Microsoft hoping to go with Live.com and all it’s related services.
Well let me help you all out a little on these questions by providing you with an extract from a blog post titled Improving Live.com which I found on the Windows Live.com Team Blog, it answers questions like: What is live.com? What is the team trying to accomplish and how well do they think they are doing?
Live.com is about three things:
- The best place to search on the web. There are many ways where this is true today and we still have many areas to improve upon. Today you can add search results to live.com by clicking on the add to live.com link from a search result. You can use powerful search filters to offer lists of feeds, and soon additional content which can all be added in 1 click to live.com. Search gadgets make your search experience more compelling (take the image search gadget for example which gives you a slideshow of images you are interested in). Performing searches gives you the ability to have several different views of your results. Take a look at image search as an example and use the infinite scroll bar as a way to scroll through the content if you want to go deep into the results. Or check out the academic search results.
- A personalized portal. This is the thing we are doing the most of today because most of the technology is available. It’s all about customization and control, themes, layouts, content, etc. Make it yours.
- Get the benefits of Windows and Windows Live services. Today we have a dashboard with interactive mini-applications called gadgets where you can have easy access to the Windows Live services that matter most to you. We’re pulling together the pieces for building a robust platform where other partners can build and leverage the Windows Live ecosystem. We’re also working on ways for you to be able to easily learn about windows and windows live services and most importantly integrating with other Windows devices and platforms like media center, xbox, office, etc. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the gadgets on Microsoftgadgets.com that allow you to post your Xbox gamer tag, manage your Windows Live and mail and many others.
We’re still in the early stages of all of this but I think we have a very compelling story. As we’ve started to talk about this with our customers we see their faces light up when we show them where we’re headed. We just need time to build it right.
Speaking of building it right, overall we realize there are a few key issues we need to address which we are working on as well. I’m happy to tell you we are already working on all three of them for our next sprint which has already started:
- Performance. This is our current top priority. I can assure you that we are working on performance and plan to have significant improvements very soon. We’ve been making progress but we still have a lot of work to do. Scott Isaacs also has posted comments about our performance efforts here. Stayed tuned for updates.
- Usability improvements. We are doing various usability studies and identifying what areas on the site are most difficult to use. We plan on making revisions based on the customer and usability lab feedback we are seeing. Some of the improvements we are working on are working making it easier to change your gadget settings, like adding a city to weather or minimizing the amount of space the weather gadget takes up. There’s also a lot of functionality that customers don’t know exists. Examples include: minimizing the weather or stocks gadgets and getting minimized views of your data. We are working to make sure these features are easy to discover and use.
- First Run Experience. We are re-examining our first run experience to avoid confusion and make it easy to set up the page.
So how do we think we’re doing? We think we’ve got our work cut out for us, but we think we’re on track. Let us know what you think, we do appreciate your feedback.
Via: Live.com Team Blog
Microsoft is now starting to share more details about its next generation of mobile operating systems. The company is planning to deliver the next version of its Windows Mobile platform, code-named Crossbow, to providers by the end of this year. And it is going to follow up one year later with a refreshed Windows Mobile release, code-named Photon.
Via: Microsoft Watch