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MSN Soapbox goes public

Microsoft's answer to YouTube and Google Video is called Soapbox.

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 90s. Nor will it go through your Windows Live e-mail to see if you want to share any videos that have been sent to you by friends. If Microsoft is aiming for no-nonsense integration with its Web services, it's sadly not there yet.

That being said, Microsoft did add the ability to post videos in your blog, which was one of our original Soapbox criticisms.The catch is that it has to be a Windows Live Spaces blog. Alternatively, there are the standard permalinks and embed codes for you to send to friends or put on your blog or Web site.

Below I've embedded one of my favorite videos. Note the fact you can access both share codes and description from the player itself. Neat.

Video: Amazingly Cool Ad