Daily Debrief: Windows Live, social wallflower no longer
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>> Kara: Welcome to the Daily Debrief, I'm CNET's Kara Tsuboi here with CNET News' Senior Writer Ina Fried. And
Microsoft has just announced a lot of changes to its Windows Live platform, a lot of social networking changes, why don't you explain
some of these.
>> Ina: Sure, I mean the core of Windows Live is Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger and to a lesser degree Spaces they're
blogging and file sharing kind of tool. But what they're basically doing is trying to bring some of these things together, bring
the contacts from these different things together, so historically you've had a different Buddy List from your Mail Contacts from
maybe your friends on Spaces.
>> Kara: Sure
>> Ina: They're trying to combine this and so you have one Contact List but more importantly they're trying to bring in some of the
concepts that you probably know from Facebook. Things like a profile or a news feed of what all your buddies are up to. The question
is whether people really want these things in their Mail and Messenger, I mean these things are, no doubt, popular on social networks
like Facebook but do they want them in the their Mail and Messenger. Now, Microsoft's stressing it's not trying to create a new
social network, it's just trying to give you more tools for the social network that you actually already have in terms of your buddy
list and stuff.
>> Kara: But it is pretty obvious that sites like Facebook, MySpace, all of these, ya know, well known social networking sites are
motivating or influencing Microsoft to kind of catch up with the times maybe.
>> Ina: definitely, Microsoft talks about the idea that 11% of minutes on the Internet are spent in Hotmail and Messenger. Social
networking's account for another good chunk and they would like to get some of that, they would like to bring some of that energy that's
going to social networks back into their stuff.
>> Kara: Ya know, Hotmail was the first email account I had, I think I opened it 10 years ago and I've seen it go through a lot of
changes in these 10 years, what kinds of specific changes can Hotmail users now see to their Inbox?
>> Ina: Well, one of the things they'll be adding over time is the ability to chat from within Hotmail --
>> Kara: So, to Gmail, how you can do that?
>> Ina: Right, ya know, the challenging thing with Hotmail, and Microsoft has seen this a couple times, is, ya know, they do have that
user base from years and years ago and that some of their most active users are also some of their more change resistant and so it's
how do they make changes to Hotmail without sort of infuriating the base.
>> Kara: Yeah
>> Ina: And that's been an issue even with this redesign again, ya know, they had a big issue when they tried to bring Hotmail into the
2000's a few years ago, when they tried to really move off that old Hotmail base.
>> Kara: Yeah
>> Ina: And so, I think that's -- it's one of their biggest assets and it's one of their bigger challenges.
>> Kara: So, they -- Microsoft has just announced these changes, we have seen some redesigns come through but as far as widespread
social networking, cross platform changes that's trickling out in a few months?
>> Ina: Yeah, we'll start to see a lot of these changes next month they're in private testing right now.
>> Kara: Okay
>> Ina: To get a glimmer of it you can see it in the Hotmail -- sorry -- in the Messenger Beta.
>> Kara: Okay
>> Ina: If you look there's a What's New feed at the bottom, and right now all that's really showing you is whether people have updated
their profile picture and that sort of thing. But over time the idea is that that would show you a feed of what your friends are up
to. And the other interesting thing is it's not just what are people doing on Microsoft's site, they have signed up a bunch of partners
so people like Yelp, Amazon, Twitter. And so, the idea is you'd be able to see what your buddies are up to on other sites
>> Kara: Makes sense.
>> Ina: along the Internet. The names that we haven't seen are Facebook and MySpace, obviously the two biggies in social networking.
>> Kara: And, really quick before we go, what if you hate these changes, is there any way that you can leave responses for Microsoft,
let them know how you feel?
>> Ina: Well, it will be mandatory and sometimes Microsoft's had multiple different environments where you can sort of have the Classic
Mode, that's actually something they're doing away with in Hotmail.
>> Kara: Uh oh.
>> Ina: But they are listening to feedback so, I mean the things that people don't like will, ya know, get heard about and probably
>> Kara: Or, hey, you can always switch to a competitor. Thank you so much Ina Fried, I'm Kara Tsuboi and we'll see you on the next
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