MSN Spaces, Microsoft's blogging service, has opened itself to the public for beta testing. The service, previously only available in Japanese, is now available in English. Like the recently launched search beta, it does appear a little shakey in terms of .
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.
One of the core ideas around Spaces, and many of the new MSN products at the moment (e.g. MSN 7, see post below), is to integrate them - what MSN France described as "synergies". This is clear with your Spaces blog interacting with you MSN Messenger profile, and other peoples Spaces appearing in their contacts (screenshot).
Blogs and Bloggers in general have received a lot of attention in the mainstream media of late; some suggesting that they could become the future (if only perhaps one future) of journalism online. Microsoft is not only propelling itself into a market, one dominated by other giants, but offering a great product. It's simple to use, and the integration into other programs is a killer feature. Blogging just got a whole lot easier.
View: Sign Up for a Spaces