Windows Live Spaces Set for July Debut

UPDATED Microsoft said Friday that it was preparing to migrate its Spaces blogging service to its Windows Live brand, and with the change the company will add new features and tighter integration with other Windows Live services.

No specific date for the switch has been announced, but it is expected in July.

The most notable of the new features is a "Friends Module," which Microsoft had in limited testing for the past several months. The addition would allow a user to create a list of friends similar to Friendster or MySpace, making Spaces more competitive with social networking services.

Banner ads will replace the current method of using text ads across the top of the site. Microsoft has said in the past that advertising would support the Windows Live service, keeping it free. However, an option is provided to turn off the ads by subscribing to the Hotmail Plus service.

Functionality changes include customizable navigation, Windows Live Gadgets integration, as well as the ability to place one's title and tagline anywhere on the page. Additionally, Microsoft plans to change the URL of members' spaces upon the switch to Windows Live, however no details were given.

Announcement of the migration comes shortly after news that MSN Spaces saw record traffic in April. According to comScore Networks, the site counted 101 million visitors that month, making it the most widely used blogging service.

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