MSN Spaces Blog Service Launches
What better day to announce a new blogging service than the day when we all learned that “blog” was the most popular word for an online dictionary. Was 2004 the year of the blog? If it was, MSN has found a great way to end it with a bang with its new blog service – MSN Spaces. After leaping into search last month and offering a news search service this fall, MSN has taken a much needed step into the online network realm and more or less updated themselves from a dusty old ad ridden web network to a major innovator with blogs.
MSN Spaces, is now open for public testing in beta and bloggers should have a great time figuring it out. MSN’s blog service will be funded by advertising, there is no word on if Overture will be providing contextually based ads. People with MSN Messenger or Hotmail accounts will get the service for free. The AP reports that “Microsoft is closely linking MSN Spaces with its Messenger and Hotmail programs on the premise that people will hop from one Microsoft product to another for online communications.”
Users can set up a system that alerts friends on MSN Messenger when they have new blog entries. Bloggers can choose to restrict access to a select group of friends and family, but guests will need to use Microsoft’s “Passport” to log in. Blogs can also be updated via MSN email or messenger.
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, only 6 percent of adult Americans have created blogs, while 17 percent have read those of others. Between Google’s Blogger and other popular blog services, MSN should help grow that number. Will Yahoo be next to adapt their Korean Yahoo Blog service to a US audience?
Neowin reports that Microsoft’s goal with the project is to make getting (and running) a blog as simple as any other task. After a simple signup process (you pick a name and url) you’re ready to tell the world your views. Spaces have most of the common features seen on blogs (RSS, track back, etc) and a few more. Microsoft offers a variety of themes, ranging from the default, to a variety of others. The 15 custom built themes were created by none other than The Skins Factory. The Skins Factory have been responsible for a number of high profile Windows Media Player skins too.