Windows Live Spaces goes Live!

On Monday Microsoft began rolling out Windows Live Spaces, the next generation of the world's most widely used blogging service, MSN Spaces. The new service includes social networking features designed to help users discover and connect with friends through their trusted contacts and allows customers to personalize their Windows Live Spaces with gadgets. Microsoft also announced additional progress on Windows Live with the launch of Windows Live Toolbar, the Windows Live QnA beta and the releases of enhanced safety services in the coming weeks.

"With the release of products such as Windows Live Spaces, we continue to deliver on our mission of bringing customers closer to the information and people that matter to them most," said Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of the Online Services Group at Microsoft. "Windows Live and Internet-based ad-funded software and service are critical to driving growth for the company, and we are energized about the continued investments we're making to help provide consumers with a seamless and safer online experience."

View: Create your Live Space
View: Windows Live Beta Home
View: Neowin's Live Spaces forum Thread

As the next generation of the popular MSN Spaces, Windows Live Spaces will allow consumers to tell their story and customize their site with blogs, photo albums, music lists and more. Windows Live Spaces is designed to connect users to their real social network of friends — people in their Windows Live Contacts list — that is integrated across Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and other services — and introduce them to people through these trusted contacts. Users that are already on one another's Windows Live Messenger contact lists can initiate instant messaging conversations from within Windows Live Spaces.

Expanded social networking opportunities through Windows Live Spaces are balanced by enhanced privacy tools that give users full control over permission settings to specify who can contact them through the service, see their profile information and view the contents of their site. The respective permissions and communications preferences are clearly displayed alongside the user's profile information and can be updated at any time. For those under age 18, the default setting in their Windows Live Spaces profile is that only people in the user's Windows Live Messenger contact list can gain access to his or her space.

In addition, consumers will be able to choose from hundreds of gadgets — specialized mini-applications created by developers from the community and content partners — to easily personalize their Windows Live Spaces. Customers can create a Windows Live Space at https://spaces.live.com and find gadgets at https://gallery.live.com.

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