Exemplifing all that online services investment that has Wall Street upset, Microsoft today launched a beta of Windows Live Shopping at shopping.live.com:
Today we launch the brand new Windows Live Shopping site!
What is it? It is the beta launch of Microsofts Web 2.0 shopping experience, featuring one of the worlds 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 countrys 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.
If you consider shopping a team sport, apparently more Web 2.0 social networking is on the way:
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.
Since online shopping is not exactly a new category, the test will be to see if the new features draw a crowd.