Microsoft to begin public test of Twitter-like notification service

Microsoft to begin public test of Twitter-like notification service

Summary: Microsoft is taking reservations starting April 28 for a limited beta of a new public-information service called Vine.The service, slated to go to testers in May, uses alerts, reports and a personal dashboard to allow users to stay in touch, particularly during crisis situations.

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Microsoft is taking reservations starting April 28 for a limited beta of a new public-information service called Vine.

The service, slated to go to testers in May, uses alerts, reports and a personal dashboard to allow users to stay in touch, particularly during crisis situations.

The Vine service initially was developed by the Windows Live team, post Hurricane Katrina. I heard a bit about the service back in June 2008, after which the service -- like a number of Windows Live properties -- seemed to just disappear. It turns out the concept was passed over to Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie’s division and incubated like other technologies in Microsoft's Start Up Business Accelerator group. "Eventually, products and services started in the accelerator will transition into one of Microsoft’s existing business divisions," a spokesperson said.

Here's Microsoft's description of what Vine is and how it will work:

"Stay in touch with family and friends, be informed when someone you care about needs help. Get involved to create great neighborhoods, communities or causes. You select the people and places you care about most. Use alerts, reports and your personal dashboard to stay in touch, informed and involved.

"Information associated with the places you have chosen will appear on your map, including articles culled from 20,000 local and national news sources as well as public safety announcements from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Information associated with the people you care about who are in your Vine network will appear on the dashboard too. You will know when they send you an alert, post a report or update their Facebook status information."

For users accessing Vine via the Internet, the software component of the beta service requires a PC running XP SP2 or Vista; and 600 MB of hard disk space (100 MB for Vine and 500 MB for the .Net Framework 3.5 SP1).

"The baseline offering of Microsoft Vine will available at no charge," a spokesperson told me. "Over time, you can expect to see premium services added on to the baseline offering, for a fee."

Microsoft is targeting Vine at small groups of people who want to stay in touch, like families, neighbors, sports teams, volunteer groups and the like. Vine can work with Twitter, Facebook e-mail, mobile phones or landline phones, according to the Softies. It requires users to create yet another profile that will be shared with group members.

Just don't call Vine another social-networking tool. Microsoft prefers it be known as a "societal networking" service.

Whatever you call it, I'm already on social-networking overload myself. What about you? Do you think Vine has a chance to propogate alongside Twitter, Facebook, etc.?

Topics: Social Enterprise, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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22 comments
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  • maybe interesting

    If (and its a big if) this service connects you to people in your local vicinity which it kinda pupports to do then it could be very interesting. I honestly don't think there's anything that fills that gap yet.
    If not, well, move along people cos there's nothing to see here.
    jamiet
  • Like a baby brother

    that tags along everywhere, M$ <b>MUST</b> have their own version of everything out there. I would be very surprised if M$ came out with something that no one had ever thought of. They like to tout their "innovation", but all I see is "metooism".

    Twitter is annoying enough without another service (doesn't Google have their own equivalent?). Why would you download and install 600 Mb of disk-space-waster for a beta - when Twitter works just fine - without the download?

    [Information associated with the places you have chosen will appear on your map, including articles culled from 20,000 local and national news sources]

    I hope M$ has licenses for that data! Newspapers are going belly up all over the country - how long will we HAVE 20,000 sources?

    If M$ ever hopes to get their stock (much) over 20 bucks a share again, they had better come up with something substantially better than this.
    Roger Ramjet
    • re

      Ignore MJ's mention of it being a "Twitter-like service". It doesn't purport to be a Twitter clone and in fact MJ doesn't even mention the word "twitter" within the article so it beats me why she named it in the title.

      jamiet
      • ..

        Pardon me, she did mention "Twitter" a couple of times, but not to say that Vine is anything like it.
        jamiet
      • Vine and twitter

        Hi:

        To me, Vine is like Twitter, in that it is a notification service. It's meant to keep you in touch with a selected group via updates and alerts.

        Microsoft is positioning Vine as a superset of Twitter, Facebook and other social-networking sites.

        That is why I mentioned Twitter. Sorry if it wasn't clear enough in my post. MJ
        Mary Jo Foley
        • ...

          OK, that's a fair comparison but if your comparing it with Twitter under the assertion that they're both notification services then you could compare it with a hundred and one other services too; thus the only reason youe mention Twitter is that its the current service du jour.
          From what I've read (which isn't much) the raison d'etre of Vine is different from Twitter and so is its implemntation thus I don't think a comparison is valid.

          You even said it yourself MJ "It's meant to keep you in touch with a selected group via updates and alerts" - the key thing here is groups, something that Twitter does not have, and it something that could make Vine very compelling.

          Just my opinion. It seems that I may be in the minority however seeing as anyone talking about this can't help but say its a Twitter compete.

          -Jamie
          jamiet
  • Will they EVER invent anything rather than copying?

    ?
    fr0thy2
    • open your mind

      Read up a bit before knee-jerk reactions.

      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/2009134578_microsoft_debuts_vine_in_seatt.html

      coffeeshark
      • what else you can say to an apple or linux fanboy?

        give them a coin and let them go away. i don't think anybody will miss them.
        jk_10
      • So MS is copying Twitter AND Facebook?

        MS is stealing creations from others and incorporating those ideas into their own proprietary, closed, and bloated software offering. WOW, that's a surprise. </sarcasm>
        MyMac
        • hilarious!

          coming from a user named MyMac-- didn't Apple take some kind of open platform, wrap it into their own proprietary and closed OS offering?

          I choose to omit bloated not because I expressly feel OSX is not, but rather because neither you nor I have ANY idea whether either OS is bloated. The term bloated is getting tossed around far too often by people who have no idea what the word means! All they know is that it has a negative connotation. It's lame and makes you look ignorant.
          ericesque
  • RE: Microsoft to begin public test of Twitter-like notification service

    MJ,
    You may be interested in this: http://lewisshepherd.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/social-media-goes-hyper-local-for-emergencies/ which is a comment on Vine from someone on the inside.

    -Jamie
    jamiet
  • RE: Microsoft to begin public test of Twitter-like notification service

    Gee. The public really needs another book. Facebook, spacebook, this book, that book. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, Local TV are all good enough for me. Google voice takes care of all my alerts to friends and neighbors. Already too much on the internet to keep us from working and doing housework etc. Like I said, we really need another bit of nothing to keep us occupied.
    melvins-12449368
  • Of course they are!

    That and a little FUD is they need. We are MS, we must be everywhere coping everyone until we have market share to sit back and do nothing.
    LittleGuy
  • RE: Microsoft to begin public test of Twitter-like notification service

    Its amazing how quickly people are to jump the gun and bash Microsoft without getting their facts straight. Twitter, founded in 2006. Hurricane Katrina, 2005.

    [i]The Vine service initially was developed by the Windows Live team, post Hurricane Katrina.[/i]

    So Microsoft had the idea first, long before Twitter. Now who is copying who?
    Loverock Davidson
    • Vaporware Time Doesn't Count

      As the article said, the product went into "incubation" (aka, we shelved it
      until it was worth something). If Twitter hadn't become so insanely
      popular this month it would probably still be in incubation.

      Play devil's advocate all you want, this is another attempt at getting into
      a market they didn't spot early.
      ChiperSoft
      • does not compute

        Any company that does not attempt to enter a profitable market with reasonable chances for success is failing their investors.

        Furthermore, successfully creating a new market is not necessarily indication of foresight. You think the founders of Twitter expected such success? If they did, they would have built a more scalable system. The devs said themselves that Twitter wasn't designed for the user base it now supports. It also wasn't designed to be all things to everyone. Users have invented new features for Twitter by using it in ways unintended in it's original design-- which ultimately generates greater appeal and success for the service.



        ericesque
  • Another Late To The Game FLOP

    Joining the ranks of Zune, and soon Windows Mobile.
    itanalyst2@...
  • Amusing...

    What is it with these anti-MS nuts who never RTFA? Did you even go to the site? It's not a competitor to Twitter. It connects you with people local to you (Neighbors, family, friends). But why I even bother to announce it is beyond me.

    It's not supposed to be a "Going to bathroom", "Just got done with a big meeting" service.

    You can let people know about emergancys, events, etc around you.

    Twitter is so global that unless you know a specific user, you can't connect easily with others.

    If that isn't enough, it even works with Twitter and other services.

    This tool was designed post-Katrina and it sounds promising.
    TylerM89
  • Day late and a dollar short... (nt)

    hehe
    Stuka