Today only – Experience Office on MSN

I just came across this ad for Office 2007 on the US MSN homepage which I think is great so check it out. If you want to check it out, you’ll have to do it today as it’s the only day it’ll show, but it’s worth the time. I don’t want to spoil it too much but basically you get MSN.com presented as a document in the Office 2007 interface and you’ll be able to play around with some of the menu options in Office that will actually change some things on the page. I played around with the ‘image options’ for instance to change the shape of the IMU as you can see in the screenshot below.

I’d love to see more online advertising experiences like this. (Disclaimer: I work for Microsoft).

World cup webcam sitting!

In the Netherlands we can soon expect a pretty crazy world cup. Radio 538, SNS Bank, Sony and MSN organize the first World Cup Webcam Sitting! Imagine how it would be sit in front of your webcam for 5 days and 5 nights (because that’s exactly what they’re asking for). In the meantime the ‘whole world’ will be watching while you will get some tasks during that period. You can win 1 year of free living, so if you have some free time on your hands… you got 10 more days to subscribe.

The promotion is part of the campaign for live@dvies from SNS Bank where you can get live advice about their services by a consultant using a webcam.

[Via Dutch Cowboys]

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Why Soapbox stands a chance

Although we’re late in the game with our video service I do believe we stand a chance. Why? Because we can differentiate where others maybe can’t. Soapbox gets ok/good reviews, but at the moment there’s no real reason to switch to it when you’re using YouTube, Google Video, dailymotion, … or any of the other services.

But there are many opportunities and when they are filled in right (and not too late) Soapbox might become very interesting. Here is what I hope will in Soapbox’s future:

Windows Live Messenger
For the moment it’s already possible to share Soapbox videos through Messenger (and watch it together with one of your buddies), which is a recent update to the service. It would be great though if you could see in your buddy list on Messenger who of your friends has recently uploaded a video to Soapbox. This just like you can see updated Spaces as well in your buddy list.

In the US, the advertising space in Messenger is shared between classic banners (234×60 in this case) and clips for MSN Video. It would be nice if Soapbox would get a place here as well.

Xbox 360
Through Xbox Live there are numerous opportunities for Soapbox to integrate with the Xbox. The most important feature would be the option to consult Soapbox via Xbox Live on your television. With +10M consoles sold today & +5M Xbox Live subscribers I’m sure that would give immediate results.

But think also the other way around. Wouldn’t it be nice that you could easily record a cool part of the gameplay and upload that to the internet, without ever leaving your Xbox nor television? Of course Xbox Live would foresee easy access to these clips for your Xbox Live friends… so you can show of your coolest chainsaw kill in GOW ;-)

Media Center
With Media Center the story is similar to the Xbox. You’re on your tv, connected to the internet and consulting Soapbox from there would make it quite accessible. With Media Center in nearly every version of Vista, I do believe usage will grow quite fast the next coming months. The release of Windows Live for TV (beta) looks promising in that direction.

Same as with the Xbox, there’s also the upload functionality that should be Media Center enabled. Connect your handycam, select your home movie, and upload directly from your tv to the web.

Zune
I guess this is a no-brainer, but integration with the Zune should be interesting in the future. One-click download from Soapbox to the Zune and maybe even Soapbox integration with the Zune store… who knows.

Mobile
Last but not least, I think mobile will gain a lot of importance in 2007 and I’m definitely not alone as you will find this in many of the predictions for 2007. You can already watch Soapbox videos on mobile, but that’s just a start. Mobile content will gain more and more importance so again uploading is a request.

I guess there are a lot more ways to integrate Soapbox with some of the other products & services at Microsoft, but these seem the most relevant to me. I have no view if they are on a roadmap for the moment, I just hope they are. Any ideas yourself on Soapbox?

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Customer First

This month, there were 2 conferences that I would have loved to attend: e.day (Emerce) and Picnic’06, both in The Netherlands. My agenda wouldn’t let me, but luckily enough these events get splendid coverage these days.

On October 25th it’s Customer First, and I’ll most definitely be there. I’m also excited to be invited for a roundtable on blogging together with Bert Van Wassenhove and Clo Willaerts, guided by Marco Derksen who some of you might know from Marketingfacts.nl. Thanks JP. Just need to get a place for the Night of Internet Awards, anyone?

See you there and don’t forget to stop by the Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions booth! It’s just by the bar ;-)

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Happy birthday Mess.be!

What started out as a hobby project talking about MSN/Windows Live Messenger has grown to a huge community in the 5 years that this site exists. Reading on Mess.be that actually over 100 million people have visited the site in that period deserves a lot of respect. Kudos to ‘dwergs’ for creating all this. The next one is on me, Light Bar sounds ok to you? ;-)

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Nine million

I wanted to highlight this initiative of MSN Belgium (NL) supporting Ninemillion.org for UNHCR. Ninemillion.org is an organization that supports the 9.3 million refugee children in the world and for this MSN has set up an auction together with Ebay, selling some interesting signed items. Items being auctioned are:

  • Signed Michael Owen English team football shirt
  • Signed Gigi Buffon Italian team football shirt
  • Team Anderlecht Madonna Football shirt
  • Signed CD from Texas’ newest opus Red Book
  • Unique signed photo from Charlotte Gainsbourg

Support Ninemillion.org and make your bid at the Ninemillion auction on Ebay.

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Windows Live updates (6)

Here are we are back with the latest updates on Windows Live – sixth edition already. First update and the most important is the most recent one, namely the launch of Live.com and Live Search. MSN Search is now actually history and all searches, also those from MSN go to Live Search. Interesting updates on Live Search include the scratchpad, video search beta and the related searches feature (more on Liveside). Windows Live Local came out of beta as well with this release and Windows Live QnA got into public beta only a few days before all this as well. At almost the same time John Batelle’s new Searchmob points us to an article of Siteadvisor.com that states that the MSN Live Search is the safest search engine out there.

Together with all the search updates, let’s not forget that Windows Live for mobile got launched as well. Try it on your cellphone now at http://mobile.live.com

There was one service that was expected to be a Windows Live service (codename Warhol) but news on the service leaked and it will be MSN branded, namely Soapbox on MSN Video: Microsoft’s video upload service.

What else? The Windows Live Local Outlook add-in is in beta (download of the day on Lifehacker a few days ago), Windows Live Onecare Family Safety is now available in beta and the MSN Alerts for Messenger are now also finally available under the Windows Live brand (you can get this for free for your own blog at http://signup.alerts.live.com by the way).

In the rumors section we find screenshots of the upcoming Windows Live Mail M8, and a preview of Windows Live Essentials and Dashboard. And if you’re thinking ‘how many Windows Live services are there actually?‘ after reading about those new services I just mentioned, MSBlog has got the whole, full, non edited list! And as always whenever you want to find out which Windows Live betas are available in your market: http://ideas.live.com or just find out about the released services: http://get.live.com

On the business part of Live, Marketing VOX got the news that Microsoft started a pilot of ContentAds, the AdSense rival that is part of Microsoft AdCenter.

And also, related to all that, let’s not forget that LiveSide, one of the best unofficial sources on Windows Live updated their site as well: LiveSide.net

That’s it, it has been a while with the holidays and stuff, so long post and many links, hope you find it interesting.

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Oberon Livebot Gateway

Oberon Medialab has come up with a new way to make it easier for agencies to create bots for MSN & Windows Live Messenger. If you haven’t heard about bots before, they’re basically an innovative way to interact with the +200 million Messenger users out there. Here are some examples.

Oberon apparently gets a lot of requests from other agencies about creation of those bots since they’re an official ISV for this. Since most agencies that have been asking, could do an essential part of the programming themselves they come up with the Oberon Livebot Gateway.

What’s it about? Every agency can write the logic for the bot themselves, Oberon will deal with the specific MSN / Windows Live handling. Pretty interesting approach I think, you can read more about it on their blog (in Dutch).

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