This can’t be true, can it? Can Microsoft really be running this far behind the train yet again?
After 15 years of chasing Internet innovators, hasn’t Microsoft learned that it can’t do online what it did in the PC world? (Crushing Netscape was the big exception, but that was 14 years ago now.) Does Microsoft really think there’s room for yet another social messaging service?
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.”