Microsoft Provides Peek at Live Expo

Microsoft at CES last week provided the first official peek at Windows Live Expo, formerly known by the code-name Fremont. Expo joins a number of other Live services already in public beta, and offers classified listings much like Craigslist.

Using its AJAX interface, Expo users can post items for sale or rent, complete with images and a WYSIWYG text editor. The service also supports job listings and other types of content. Each entry is categorized into groups, which can be searched or browsed by users.

Expo also includes Windows Live Local integration to narrow down searches and find items within a certain distance. Maps and satellite imagery can be pulled up to show, for example, the location of apartments available for rent, or see whether a lakefront property is really on the lake.

Users can be notified of new listings through MSN Messenger Gleams and via e-mail. Expo will additionally integrate with MSN Spaces through an optional listing module. Companies can create closed groups based on their e-mail domain in order to provide a marketplace for their employees with Expo.

For now, Windows Live Expo is a closed beta only available to Microsoft employees. However, the company is planning to expand the service to more United States users in the coming months.

"One of the primary reasons I didn't want us to set a date in stone for launching is because I felt that we should have the flexibility to decide when the product was of decent enough quality to launch (which could be earlier or later than any date we'd plucked out of the air)," said Live Expo product manager Garry Wiseman.

Interested users can sign up now to be notified when a beta of the service is ready for testing.

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