Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

What happened to Spaces?

with 8 comments

Ahhhh Live Spaces. Once purported to be the world’s biggest social network it has become a laughing stock in the online world as its users (of which I am one) battle through the trials and tribulations of poor performance, comment posting errors and endless endless spam. With the upcoming release of Windows Live wave 3 we see a shift in emphasis away from Spaces as a social networking hub to being a bit part player in an over-arching strategy of Windows Live becoming an aggregator of all of a person’s online activity. Indeed Microsoft don’t even consider Windows Live to be a social network anymore so says Windows Live General Manager Brian Hall:

“I’m happy to tell you that we’re not creating “yet another social network”. we’re building more ways to keep in touch w/ the people you already have if you’re a Windows Live Messenger or Windows live Hotmail customer”

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/11/12/sweeping-changes-at-livecom-its-a-social-network/#comment-2532711

Just to emphasize the point, take a look at where Spaces now appears in the Windows Live navbar. Its not even on the first-level, its been relegated to a submenu in favour of the three ‘P’s; Profile, People and Photos:

image

It even appears below that little-known service Windows Live Events.

 

Features like photo-sharing, events, file-sharing, profile all used to be part of Spaces but now they’ve moved up the stack to become siblings of Spaces rather than adjuncts to it. So what’s left? Well interestingly Spaces is now solely what it was always intended to be back when it was called MSN Spaces –a blogging platform- so let’s take a look at it from that perspective.

Here’s my new Space:

image

and here’s how it looks the old way:

image

There’s less clutter near the top of the screen and the “Spaces community” link has disappeared which just serves to emphasize that social networking is no longer in the Spaces lexicon. Truth be told it doesn’t look at all different but the appearance belies the fact that there have been some subtle changes that you will really appreciate if you have used the old version. One particularly advancement that I like is that you can now delete comments straight out of the comments block, you don’t have to go through that awful “Edit—>Scroll—>Delete—>Confirm” rigmarole that you used to have to do. Similarly when you’re reading a blog then the box to add a comment is already open – you don’t have to click “Add a comment” in order to do so. There are subtle changes like this all over the new version of Spaces and its much much better for it.

Sadly I haven’t seen evidence of a mechanism for preventing spam but that will only be proven once the old version has finally been packed away into a dusty box never to be seen again. All the old features like lists, guestbook and the ability to add “gadgets” are still there but frankly they are remnants of a bygone age; its significant that Windows Live Gallery hasn’t been mentioned in today’s announcement.

 

Probably the biggest advancement, and this is now true of everything in Windows Live, is how everything is integrated into the What’s New feed. The What’s New feed is an aggregation of activity from all the different properties and Spaces is no exception; your Spaces home page is now everything from your What’s New feed that is pertinent to Spaces. Observe the new Spaces home page:

image

Its very clean, its not cluttered, it only shows the good stuff. I like it.

 

In conclusion Spaces is much improved but really that’s only a sidenote. The headline here is that Spaces is no longer the centre of Windows Live like we always thought it was going to be; its been usurped by something much bigger and much better.

-Jamie

Windows Live Tags: clubhouse, story, spaces
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Written by Jamiet

November 13, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. ah.. maybe so :)

    Jamie

    November 13, 2008 at 2:22 pm

  2. Too much trying to compete with the likes of Facebook. That’s bad for Spaces. Have a post brewing myself about the hit that Spaces is taking.

    Chris

    November 13, 2008 at 3:41 pm

  3. Well I don’t like the new spaces if that is the case. I have tended to view Live Spaces as the ‘hub’ of the live services and although I will welcome the other changes, this is a shame.

    technogran

    November 13, 2008 at 4:51 pm

  4. it’s too bad, i was looking foward to something new and slick, i let my imagination run wild

    Nik

    November 13, 2008 at 8:41 pm

  5. Wow it looks great!

    crestind

    November 13, 2008 at 8:49 pm

  6. That Windows Live Banner above the new Spaces looks huge. I am holding out though, but I hope that Microsoft realizes that blogging is still important and the experience needs to be improved for the millions of loyal users. Spaces is what got me into blogging in the first place. I tried Blogger and gave up. When the first beta came out for MSN Spaces December 9, 2004 I was like ‘finally’. But the de-emphasizing gives me the feeling that its not impossible for them to just kaput the service in the future for the sake of Social Networking.

    Andre

    November 14, 2008 at 2:37 pm

  7. Andre,
    Agreed. I hope blogging doesn’t disappear from Windows Live. I can’t see why it would though given that so many people use it. 90million people can’t all be wrong.
     
    -Jamie

    Jamie

    November 14, 2008 at 2:40 pm

  8. I think it’s stupid mainly because you can’t see who is viewing you and its windows spaces, right? well you have to click through a profile to get to a space it makes no sense, it should be the other way around. also how can you grow a community when it’s closed network?

    Ryuzaki

    December 27, 2008 at 2:18 am


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