LiveSide (the independent Windows Live news blog) spotted that Windows Live Toolbar is now sporting a “Now released” tag. It’s a browser toolbar that rolls up a variety of convenient features including Windows Live Search and the Onfolio feed reader in one free package. Also related, Windows Live Gallery went into beta. The Gallery provides a library of Microsoft and third party “gadgets” that can be added-in to enhance other Windows Live services including the Toolbar.
But here’s a puzzle. Do you get the feeling that Windows Live marketing has gone AWOL since Martin Taylor’s disappearance? Windows Live OneCare and Windows Live Messenger got press releases when they shipped in May and June respectively (at which point Taylor left), but Windows Live Custom Domains and Windows Live Favorites just got posts in Microsoft blogs when they shipped in June, as did Windows Live Expo when it shipped in July. Now Windows Live Toolbar doesn’t even get a post in a Microsoft blog that I can find.
Admittedly, not all Windows Live offerings are of equal importance, but Windows Live Expo is going to do battle with craigslist for the lucrative classified ad market and Windows Live Toolbar is a control center for a number of important Windows Live features. You’d think Microsoft could pony up a few bucks for some real announcements and a little hoopla if Windows Live were really so important to the company’s future. Could the budget be a little tight, what with the competing demands for Vista, Office, Xbox 360, and Zune marketing, or is marketing just disorganized?
Update 7/26: Microsoft’s Dennis Cheung proved more adept than I at delving into Microsoft blogs. He notes that there was a post about the Toolbar release at Microsoft’s Virtual Earth blog and after my post above, Microsoft’s Live Search blog provided a nice introduction. It’s great that the teams are providing their own publicity since they seem to be the only ones doing it.
Via email, I also received a suggestion that perhaps Microsoft is saving their fireworks for a gala celebration when one of the bigger name Windows Live products ships, say Windows Live Search which has been promised shortly. That’s certainly a possibility, although hoarding all the good news leaves you open to complaints about “old news” when you finally get around to the combined launch. In any case, a combined launch is certainly the place to make up for earlier lost opportunities.