Monday, February 1, 2010

Microsoft simplifies social networking


STAYING CONNECTED: Ooi explaining how Microsoft Windows Live integrates with other social network platforms during a media briefing session in Kuala Lumpur.

By CHONG JINN XIUNGintech@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Microsoft is latching on to the social networking game and is looking to simplify social networks through its Windows Live online service.

“The problem with social networking today is that there are simply too many options that it becomes difficult to keep track of all your friends in different social network groups,” said Microsoft head of Windows Live for Southeast Asia, Barrie Ooi.

Indeed, today’s social networking environment covers a diverse range of platforms that include Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and many more.

Also, different countries have different preferences for social networking groups such as QQ in China, CyWorld in South Korea, Mixi in Japan and MySpace in the United States.

All in one

“Instead of signing up for different social networking groups just to keep up with your friends, why not simplify your life by viewing everything on a single page?” asked Ooi.

Microsoft’s answer to the social networking dilemma, Windows Live, is projected to work as a central location for users to view all social networking activities in their network of friends.

Microsoft claims that Windows Live Home integrates well with all the most popular social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr.

Not limited to social networks, users can also read blog posts from Wordpress and Live Journal or check out what’s everyone listening to on music services like Last.fm and Pandora.

Extended services

The Windows Live experience also extends to several other services that includes Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger and Sky Drive.

“Windows Live Messenger retains a strong footing in Malaysia as the country’s most popular instant messaging client and we’re leveraging on it to point people to Windows Live,” Ooi said.

The latest version of Windows Live Messenger allows users to check on their contacts’ status updates on the “What’s New” feed on the bottom half of the application.

Possibly one of the most compelling reasons to use Windows Live is Sky Drive, Microsoft’s free online storage service that offers users 25GB of storage space to store and share their pictures, videos and documents.

“It may be hard to believe, but there’s really no catch to Sky Drive,” said Ooi. “Just sign into Windows Live and it’s there for you to use free of charge.”

Package deal

If you like to get your creative thinking cap on, the Windows Live Essential package includes Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker, which is another way to connect and share your photos and movies online.

Windows Photo Gallery works more like an extension of the built-in photo viewer in Windows but allows you to organise and find your photos easier by tagging faces in photos or through tags.

It also features some basic photo-fixing options and a cool panorama stitch feature. Once you are done organising your photos you can upload them directly to your Flickr or Facebook account.

Windows Movie Maker is another free application for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users that allows them to easily create family videos.

Simply select any number of photos and videos that you want and let the software’s handy auto movie maker do the rest, the company said.

Once users are done they can share their videos on YouTube or output in a TV-friendly file format.

According to Ooi, Microsoft isn’t limited to Windows Live alone for its social networking endeavours. There’s also Windows Live Writer, a desktop blog publishing tool that is compatible with most major blogs including Blogger, Live Journal, Wordpress and many more.

Posted via web from SGB Media Group, LLC