MSN Enhances Spaces, Start.com
MSN has been busy making enhancements to some of its services based on the requests of its users. Two popular features of the service, Spaces and its new Start.com testbed, were tweaked to allow greater customization and mobility.
"PowerToys are special features in MSN Spaces designed specifically for you, the advanced users," Mike Torres, lead program manager for MSN Spaces, wrote in his Web log on Tuesday announcing the new features.
Among the tools mpw available is one that allows the user to change the default color scheme of their Space and personalize it to their liking. Torres said the lack of customization was the primary complaint received by the team during the service's initial rollout.
Also available is a tool to embed Windows Media Player into a user's Space and allow for the playing of media files directly from the Web. "I think I received a few hundred e-mails on this feature alone," Torres said. Media files can't be uploaded to MSN Spaces yet, but the player could be linked to somewhere else that hosts the files in the meantime.
A major enhancement to Spaces is the introduction of mobile blogging. Spaces users can go to the mobile Web site and post to their space while on the run, as well as view their contacts' spaces, read new and updated spaces, and comment on posts.
While a version of MSN Spaces has been available to the Japanese market for some time, this week marked the first time it was localized into several different languages.
At the same time, MSN's Start.com received minor changes, including personalization tied to a user's Microsoft Passport. In previous versions, this was handled by cookies, meaning that Start.com had to be set up individually for each computer used.
Changes were also made to the site's sidebar to allow dragging and dropping of content, in addition to changes to the RSS modules, and the addition of a favorites module.
The Start.com development group also asked users to continue sending feedback on what features they would like to see on the personalized homepage.