Microsoft is jumping into the world of online event planning with Windows Live Events, scheduled to launch late Thursday.
The free social event planning service lets you invite friends to an event and creates a Web page where people can share photos and stories with blog entries after the event. It uses the same infrastructure as Windows Live Spaces and lets you use your contact list there or in Hotmail or Messenger.
It's got all the standard online invite features and allows you to include a map and customize. I'm not sure if it will dent the business of pioneer Evite.com, but if you use Spaces it should be easy and offering the ability to upload photos for everyone to see could be handy.
The service begins rolling out to the public on Thursday night and will be accessible at http://events.live.com over the following days. It will target the same 56 markets where Spaces is available.
Separately, Microsoft is adding a dashboard to Spaces, where you can see what updates your friends have made, and providing more privacy control over exactly who can see your photos.
Microsoft also is announcing that it is doubling the free storage in its Windows Live SkyDrive hosted storage beta offering to one gigabyte. In addition, people can subscribe to RSS feeds from any public folders now.