Microsoft has been pretty busy today, adding two third-party services to its consumer and business brands. The first is a new integration with Farecast [coverage] on MSN's travel site. Users get a new module, containing airfare predictions and deals, that offers a listing of cheap airfares as well as an airport finder. Instead of jettisoning you out to Farecast's site, it will open up right inside of MSN--similar to opening up an app in Facebook.
If there was any doubt as to how MSN would pull off the live internet broadcast of the Live Earth concert series today, it has been cleared. Powered by MSN's Soapbox, the broadcast comes off really well.
As you can see above, the video is nestled nicely among a slider of all of the different concerts, information about the venue that you are watching and links on how you can help the cause. The slider on the bottom also contains live updating information on what is happening on each stage, along with what act is next. The video can … Read more
MSN Video, Microsoft's free online video service, first launched in early 2004. Although MSN's ad sales folks tell me that the service has been popular among advertisers--MSN claims that advertisers have actually been clamoring for more inventory than MSN's been able to provide--the service missed the boat when it came to the video-posting and sharing revolution, allowing YouTube to garner a huge lead. It's also missed out on some big events, notably last summer's Live8 concerts, which were Webcast by AOL. MTV did such a poor job with the TV broadcast, overloading the show with … Read more
Heard the one about the Skype worm? Actually, users of the popular VoIP service Skype have been contending with misleading and dangerous URLs for some time. Like worms spread by MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger, various Skype worms have been known to include a message such as "Give me your opinion" followed by a URL. Clicking the link then installs several malicious files including versions of the Warezov/Stration Trojan horse. Stration has been known to open remote access on infected machines.
Now, Chris Boyd, Director of Malware Research at Facetime Security Labs, has found a recent Skype … Read more
Microsoft is hoping the creator of Ugly Betty can make MSN a little more beautiful.
The software maker announced Tuesday that Ben Silverman's Reveille will create two more Internet video shows for its MSN Video site. One, called "Driving School," is being sponsored by Volvo and will feature cast members from The Office. The other, dubbed "This is the Life," is a travel and leisure show being sponsored by Chivas.
Microsoft is hard at work on a new consumer-targeted screen-sharing and collaboration tool, code-named Tahiti. Microsoft's landing page describes it as an "easy way to share documents and screen views with small groups of friends or coworkers; anytime, anywhere."
Each group member is assigned a mouse pointer and an editing color when working the group works together on Office documents. There's also a feature called 'handouts,' which is a storage space for documents or files you want to share with the group. The tool has no integrated voice or chat features, but Microsoft will likely add … Read more
Citizendium, the new wiki project from Larry Sanger (one of the co-founders of Wikipedia) launched publicly yesterday. Citizendium is a lot like Wikipedia, but with more emphasis placed on responsibility and the policing of content--two things arguably lacking in Wikipedia. Before you can contribute to Citizendium, users must apply for access, and it's not just a casual name and e-mail address; you actually have to provide your real name and sell yourself to the service's content cops in 100 to 500 words.
The site's content is managed and controlled by community moderators called "constables." After being screened and chosen even more carefully than ordinary contributors, constables are given the power to manage user submissions and general content. Constables aren't paid or given compensation for their services, it's purely a volunteer gig. Likewise, contributors receive nothing besides the prestige of creating and editing content for the service.
There are just more than 1,000 entries on the site. This pales in comparison to Wikipedia's 1,700,000 plus, but Citizendium just launched. Wikipedia's been live since early 2001.
Citizendium is an interesting experiment (a term coined by its founders, not me). It's too early to say whether or not it will become a serious competitor to Wikipedia. To my mind, Citizendium is setting itself up for problems.… Read more
Microsoft is closing its video-sharing site, Soapbox, to new users for up to two months so it can create better safeguards against pirated content.
The software giant, which agreed earlier Thursday to distribute movies and TV shows for big media companies, has seen Soapbox fill up with unauthorized clips since a test version of the site launched last month.
No new subscribers will be accepted, but anyone who has already signed up for Soapbox can continue to access the site, said Adam Sohn, a director in Microsoft's online-services group.
Microsoft stood to be embarrassed by the existence of pirated work on Soapbox. There was a real possibility that the company could have found itself distributing video from News Corp. and NBC Universal, at the same time another one of its units was hosting material stolen from those same companies.
Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo have agreed to be part of a new online joint venture of media conglomerates that also includes NBC Universal and News Corp. The new video network, scheduled to debut this summer, will feature full-length programming, movies, and clips from at least a dozen television networks and two major film studios. … Read more
Microsoft unleashed its Soapbox Web video platform to the unwashed masses yesterday, taking the service out of private beta. We covered Microsoft Soapbox in September. The service has a clean and simple layout, and manages to keep both the MSN moniker and the often-clunky Windows Live Login (formerly .NET Passport). What baffles me about this is that despite having access to all your personal information, Soapbox won't parse your Windows Live ID to fill in simple profile information like your name and location, unless you've recently gone through and updated it since opening a Hotmail account in the … Read more