Since Microsoft’s Live.com opened it’s doors to the world last Tuesday as a beta, they’ve already shipped updates including improved Firefox support, and the # of Web Gadgets has grown to nearly 50 from a broad (and growing) range of ISVs and enthusiasts.
One thing that struck me is that more people should see the demos shown at the Live.com. I watched them w/in MS’s corpnet this weekend and had a big “aha” moment. Lots of conversation about how Live.com is Web 2.0-enabled Microsoft. It’s a start (no pun intended for fans of Start.com). More importantly, I think what you see today is the equivalent of a whiteboard and a set of tools- dry erase markers, magnets, and some high tech wizardry to project what you want onto the whiteboard. But you still have to start by putting what you want up on the board. I think this is what is tripping some folks up. IMO it isn’t a pre-programmed experience. It’s worth 5 minutes setting up my homepage the way I want, and 20 minutes saved a day by getting just the info I’m interested in.
Speaking of those newfangled Gadgets, a few of my favorites:
- Windows Live Favorites – all my favorites, syncd from MSN and IE.
- Expedia.com – It’s a good start at a good looking gadget.
- Seattle Bus Tracker – I’m one of those jerks who drives his own car (hey, it’s a Prius at least) but I have lots of friends who like this mashed-up gadget showing overlay of bus positions on Virtual Earth.
- GetFireFox Counter – This is the beauty of Live.com. It’s your content, from wherever. As the developer of this gadget says, “Can’t we all just get along?”.
- Stock Portfolio Tracker – Good for tracking your diversified portfolio, however I look forward to seeing this from a brand-name firm w/ analysis.
- Gadget Player – Embeds Windows Media Player right into your site. Not I just need to wire this up to my voicemail and I have my voicemail system on my live homepage. (We get vmail via email at Microsoft).
- Pac-Man – All work and no play makes Sean a dull boy. The classic Pac-Man (Space Invaders, Tetris, Sudoku, and Simon) are all now available as of today. See, adding Flash-based elements are easy too.
Installing Gadgets will get much easier. Developing will continue to become more robust. Like ActiveX, Gadgets are a powerful feature for enthusiasts and developers today and have the potential to go mainstream in the future.
What Gadgets would you like to see for Windows Live?