Microsoft Is (A)Live With Photo Sharing, Social Roll Out While Apple Searches

Microsoft has rearchitected its Live.com portal to be more of a social network on which users can pull in data from various sources and interact with their friends. TechCrunch has more coverage:

Users are automatically connected with any friends they have on Windows Live Messenger, which is by far the most popular instant messaging service worldwide (Comscore: Microsoft Messenger has 268 million worldwide users, compared to 116 million for Yahoo and 6 million for Google Talk).

Users are asked to build out their profile, and can also bring in content they create on blogs (or any RSS feeds, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pandora, Photobucket, iLike, Twitter, WordPress and Yelp. When you do something new on those sites, the information flows into Live.com for your friends to see (in a very similar way as FriendFeed, Plaxo and others do today). Eventually, says Microsoft, more than 50 partners will be supported. When users add photos, write reviews, and update their profiles directly on Live.com, that content will be put into the activity stream as well.

The hope, of course, is to get people to hang out a lot more at Live.com. At least those people who use Messenger, since they already have their contacts established. Like Yahoo, Microsoft is going with its strengths, which in their case is instant messaging.

Microsoft’s software plus services strategy has clearly infiltrated Live.com as well as their approach with Office. Live.com users can now access a variety of online services like mail, calendar, photos, online storage, etc., as well as downloaded services that include a mail client, instant messaging, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, the Toolbar and other services. And now it’s also one big social network.

Included in this new roll out is a photo sharing site call Live Photos. ReadWriteWeb has a solid review.

They point out that the slideshow background changes color depending on the dominant color in the photo being displayed at any given time – this is an interesting feature and points to photo sharing services growing their intelligence of what is taking place inphoto as it were.

Furthermore:

You can share your albums with very granular permissions, and also share individual photos. Every photo can be tagged and your visitors can also leave comments.

On the other side of the spectrum, Apple is reported to be working on a search engine. This one’s more of a rumor than substantiated Valley lore at the moment. Again from TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.

TechCrunch Gets Down To Hard Business

Just as you were thinking the world had righted itself from a tech company like Apple delving into the phone business (and achieving 38% year on year revenue growth), along comes TechCrunch with a bombshell.

This leading tech blogging business has decided to build its own web tablet hardware device. The aim is to create a device that spans the gap between the iPhone and the Macbook Air – the ideal device would be a lightweight small tablet running nothing more than Firefox on a decent screen and with a WiFi connection.

It’s really tough going from being a purely content and connections play into the hardware arena, but here’s why I like it: – the connections side of TechCrunch will be heavily leveraged to create an open source development community and also to bring in the right corporate partners to make sure this succeeds.

Get to it guys and log my order!

Elevator Pitches: Rule 1, Don’t Hang Your Pet By Its Tail, Even On TechCrunch!

TechCrunch has set up a community video project called Elevator Pitches. Limited to 60 seconds these pitches are voted up or down by the community.

It looks like a fun way to get entrepreneurs to hone their pitching skills and get some coverage. Below is the video from Ugobe‘s CEO, Bob Christopher – it’s an interesting take on the whole elevator pitch by a company with a great product and by the sounds of it, great vision.

But Bob – holding the Pleo by the tail until it squeals breaks the first rule of pitching — keep the focus on your venture and its value proposition…

Google Search 2.0 = Digg Plus Friendfeed

The following video sourced from TechCrunch outlines a possible next iteration of Google Search. It’s very interesting to note the inclusion of Digg-like vote up/down features as well as on-search comments and profiling a la Friendfeed.

Should Google go ahead and implement this new feature set it will make search an order of magnitude more social.

Omnidriver TechCrunches Seesmic

Omnidrive’s CEO and sometime TechCrunch blogger, Nik Cubrilovic, takes a pot shot at threaded video app, Seesmic – via Seesmic. Have a listen, its really an attempt to drive up embedded video comments on TechCrunch via Seesmic. Why pander to them – leave your comments right here on metarand.