Windows Live: Where’s Da Beef?

Steve Rubel sez, “Where’s the sharing, the community? Is Microsoft really a Web 2.0 company or wolf in sheep’s clothing? To me Web 2.0 is more than fancy schmancy Ajax web apps. It’s about social computing; creating ways for people to share online in a meaningful way. Very few if any of Microsoft’s “Live” exploits have any sharing features. It’s all hat, no cattle.”

I hate to admit it but I kind of have to agree with Steve. Although I was pretty impressed by all the glitz when it was launched I find that I don’t really use the site. I did get an invitation to the live mail thing but then when I tried to click through I got some crazy error message: “Hotmail does not support the .NET Passport you are signed in to. Visit the Hotmail Web site for information or to set up a free account.” Huh? I thought I was getting live mail, not hotmail. And I’ve never even had a hotmail account before.

Passport anything by the way is an instant kill as far as I’m concerned. The company where I work has passport blocked via the SonicWall and if I can’t access it at work then I may as well skip it. Anytime I see passport stuff it drives me crazy. Do I need a passport for Flickr? Do I need a passport for Delicious? Do I need a passport for Digg? Do I need a passport for Technorati? Nope.

So I hate to say it but so far live.com doesn’t do much for me. I’m already using NewsGator for my RSS. I don’t really care about the weather. Stock quotes? No thanks. Horoscopes? Groan. Shopping? Please, stay away. This thing needs to be more than a glorified MyYahoo!, it needs to delight and impress me. What am I missing here?

Where is my compelling reason to use this site? If it was the mail, I can’t even get that to work. The fancy AJAX stuff is there but where is the creativity? It seems like the lights are on but nobody’s home.

Give me a full screen Flickr slide show, or incorporate blogger into the mix somehow, or give me something, anything to encourage me to use the site. Show me something new and cool to do with Technorati or PubSub. Or use Sitemeter to show me my last 20 referrers to my blog and my top 20 referrers today. Do something with music or pictures or something with the Internet Archive or with Pandora or All Music Guide — give me anything but another glorified RSS reader. Hook up Orb and let me have my Media Center in it or give me total access to my Media Center PC remotely. Or how about even this new idea, come up with even some brand new thing that nobody’s even thought about yet. Innovate. Until then I have to agree with Steve and say, where’s the beef?

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  1. Shahn Hogan says:

    Thomas,
    It sounds like you tried to log into Live Mail with a non-hotmail.com account. Live Mail can only upgrade your existing hotmail account from what I can tell. Also I don’t understand what is so bad about Passport. All it is is a centralized login that can be used for a lot of websites including eBay. I’m sure the sites you mentioned require a login to recognize you. So what’s the big deal?

    – Shahn Hogan

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    Shahn. I did not try to log on to Live Mail with any account at all. I’ve never had a hotmail account or any Microsoft mail account for that matter. I merely clicked on the link that was supplied to me via email from the Live Mail beta and got that error message. Not a very friendly invitation to Live Mail. It is of course beta so I understand but I didn’t work for me.

    In terms of Passport, this is blocked by my SonicWall corporate filter at work. Live.com is not. Passport as an idea may work for some but for me it does not. I’m not sure why I should need it and think that there should be an alternate way to log in directly from live.com with a user name and password. Digg for instance let’s me log in that way directly on their site and that works great. eBay for instance lets me log in that way and that works great.

    Perhaps mail is what makes live.com great, perhaps not, I don’t know because I haven’t been able to try it. But as of now while I like the feel and architecture, it lacks the content needed for me to find the site compelling.

  3. Shahn Hogan says:

    Gotcha, I’m not sure what cause that wierd error message. I have received a few error messages in the past on live.com and they were very informative and explained what to do to resolve them. Maybe somebody on the Live.com team can help you?

    One feature in the Live Mail program that I really like is as you type spell checking. It works similar to Word. If you type a word incorectly a squiggly line shows up under it-pretty cool and very helpful.

    – Shahn

  4. Shawn Oster says:

    “Do I need a passport for Flickr? Do I need a passport for Delicious? Do I need a passport for Digg? Do I need a passport for Technorati? Nope.”

    Just wait, once Yahoo has finished buying them all you will. 🙂

    What an odd thing to block, why would anyone block Passport?

  5. I’ve had issues using a Passport account with my Xbox Live membership. Apparently, Passport thinks that I’m younger then 13 and won’t allow me to change the age to reflect my real age. I’ve dealt with this problem for the last three years when I’ve had to renew my membership and have been told by the customer service reps that the only way to fix it is to set up a seperate passport account. Of course I can’t ever remember what the login or password is to that account, which always makes them suspicious when I try paying Xbox live each year.

    One major problem with the passport program is that if you get information wrong, then you can’t use the program for all of the other sites that you frequent. There is no customer support available and so rather then spend a lot of time trying to figure out what went wrong, I just don’t use anything that requires a passport account.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why is MS Passport something that needs to be blocked by a firewall? Is it a security threat? I have used Passport from my workplace, and am wondering should I be worried now…