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October 6, 2006

Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, October 6, 2006

Posted by David Hunter at 10:22 PM ET.

Catherine Holahan at Business Week online reviews the Internet search wannabes (including Microsoft) trying to steal Google’s crown with new search technologies. Meanwhile, Danny Sullivan has a little fun with another wannabe that has rediscovered “natural language search” for the nth time.

Jupiter Research’s Michael Gartenberg got a sneak preview of Crossbow and Photon (the next versions of Windows Mobile previously mentioned here) and he’s impressed:

I can’t really tell you all that much about then except that Microsoft is totally changing the way they’re thinking about mobility and it shows.

LiveSide’s Harrison Hoffman has the buzz on Windows Live Marketplace (codenamed Agora) which seems to be a tool for “Internet based retailers/sellers to add catalogs of their available products to the Windows Live Product Search database.”

Even further out is Nemo (work on which is on hold):

Codename Nemo is designed to be an add-on for Windows Vista (Home Premium and Vista Ultimate editions), that integrates Spaces, Messenger and Live Call into a UI designed for large monitors and TVs. Nemo essentially creates a Windows Live Media Center, and is optimized for use by Microsoft Media Center remote, as well as keyboard.

The Windows Live Mail team is rolling out the “M8″ enhancement to their beta.

Brier Dudley has some fun with Windows Media Player 11 beta 2:

Apparently there’s a glitch that makes some recorded TV shows vanish after three days, degrading the TiVo-like experience of Media Center.

I wonder if there’s some link to the copy prevention software used in the Zune media player…

Filed under DRM, Live Search, MSN, MSN Search, Media Player, Microsoft, Technologies, Windows Live, Windows Live Call, Windows Live Marketplace, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Product Search, Windows Live Spaces, Windows Mobile, Windows Mobile 6, Windows Phone 7

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September 14, 2006

Cams, keyboards, and mice, Oh my!

Posted by David Hunter at 11:32 AM ET.

Microsoft Hardware yesterday trotted out its offerings for the fall season:

I was particularly entranced by the latter, because while I never use the Microsoft custom operating system keys on my keyboards, I always wonder if I might be missing something. Microsoft’s Nick White has a better explanation than the press release as to what they are for:

- Windows Start Button: access the Windows Vista Start Menu
- Windows Media Start Button: quick access to Windows Media Center in Windows Vista
- Windows Live Call Button: make a call using Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Call
- Gadget Button: launches for quick access to your personalized Gadgets

So the Windows Live crew has even snuck onto Microsoft keyboards.

Filed under Controllers, Keyboards, Mice, Microsoft, Microsoft Hardware, OS - Client, Webcams, Windows Live, Windows Live Call, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Vista

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May 8, 2006

Microsoft releases Windows Live Messenger beta

Posted by David Hunter at 10:09 PM ET.

Press release:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that the new Windows Live™ Messenger beta is available broadly to the public for download at the Windows Live Ideas Web site. The beta of Windows Live Messenger, which is the next generation of MSN® Messenger, the most widely used instant messaging service with more than 230 million customers worldwide, includes customer-driven feature enhancements that make it even easier for consumers to stay in touch with the people and information that matter most to them.

Some of the new features are:

  • Windows Live Call with Verizon Web Calling service. With one click, users can go directly to the Windows Live Call feature and, through the Verizon Web Calling service, place affordable outbound local voice calls and domestic or international long-distance voice calls over the Internet. Service is already offered to Messenger customers in five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. As of next week, this calling service will be available in localized languages and currencies for six new markets — Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands — giving more customers more ways to communicate with the people that matter most to them.
  • Cordless phones designed exclusively for Windows Live Messenger. Beginning today, customers will be able to purchase phones from Uniden Corp. and in the coming weeks from Philips that make Windows Live Call available through the handset, which can be used to make landline and Internet phone calls. Consumers can use their cordless phones from anywhere in the home, even while away from the PC.
  • Windows Live Contacts. Contact information is always current with Windows Live Contacts in Windows Live Messenger; users choose which contacts they want updated automatically. Windows Live Contacts are integrated and accessible across Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and MSN Spaces.
  • Unified contacts. Customers now have the ability to see and search all their contacts with the unified contact list accessible through Windows Live Messenger. Users can have up to 600 contacts, and easily search using the word wheel feature, which automatically sorts the contact list.
  • Sharing Folders. By simply dragging and dropping their files and personal photos of any size to their Windows Live Messenger window, customers can share them with family, friends and colleagues.
  • Offline instant message (IM). Customers can now send an IM to their offline contacts, who will receive the IM the next time they log in.
  • Video conversation. The free synchronized audio and video service in Windows Live Messenger, powered by Logitech International SA, allows customers to view and talk to their friends through their PCs in full-screen video with one push of a button using the webcams and broadband Internet connections.

This is pretty much what one would expect of a current generation IM service, but I have to observe that Microsoft is setting up yet another distinct contacts repository with uncertain compatibility and synchronization with all the others that exist.

Filed under Beta and CTP, Microsoft, Windows Live, Windows Live Call, Windows Live Contacts, Windows Live Messenger

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