Live.com – my thoughts
12 May 2006 in Microsoft, Windows | Comments enabled

Windows Live

There seems to be some discussion about live.com going on in the .net blogging space in New Zealand at the moment so I thought I’d jot down my own thoughts.

I played with Windows Live months and months back when it first launched. I initially thought “heh, that’s kinda cool – I can move stuff around just like in SharePoint”. Then I closed the browser and didn’t go back.

A few months passed and I saw comments about the new live search and I found myself again playing around with the Windows Live portal again. It was more polished – a lot more gadgets had been added. I played for a while longer but at no point did I have any desire to set it as my homepage.

As many people have said – it’s bulky and slow. When I open my browser I have it set to about:blank because I want it to snappy. I hate having my browser slow. It’s 2006 for crying outloud – browsers have been around for more than a decade, why the heck should I need to wait five seconds for my browser to become useable? I have a 10mbit down internet connection – I’m not going to tolerate it being slow. This is a massive issue that I bitch about from time to time – Why have we had a 100x improvement in computing and network speed but everything seems to be getting slower and slower? Anything more than 1 second between clicking the browser icon and having my browser usable is not acceptable in my eyes.

And that pretty much sums it up – from a functional point of view it’s fine. You can do a lot. But from a usability point of view it’s just not something I enjoy using. It almost feels like a typical Microsoft way of doing things – add tonnes of functionality. They need to mix it with how Apple does things – it might not do *everything* but damn, it’s nice to use!

I realise that so far it seems like I’m ripping Live.com a new one – I’m really not. I know I don’t represent a normal cross section of computer users. I like the idea of a single portal but I think people realised that portals weren’t the best idea in the late 90′s. Just because I can personalise it now doesn’t make me want to use it anymore than I did then. This entry would be exactly the same if you replaced “live.com” with “Google personalised homepage”.

Perhaps I’ll change my mind eventually – perhaps it will become a lot faster. Who knows – all I do know is that I find it far too much of a gimmick at the moment. I do think I’ll use gadgets in Vista – but that’s because they’ll be asyncronous – I can use the computer and have them update in their own time. That makes me happy – and once I have gadgets that I can’t live without I’ll becoming a raving fan.

I look forward to the continuing debate about live.com. I would love for people to point out some positives that I’ve missed. I really love the live.com search, I think it’s fantastic. Tim seems to be tracking this debate if you care to read more peoples views.

- JD


2 comments. Add your own comment.

Dolan says 17 May 2006 @ 12:01

Ok, so the homepage might be a bit bad for us developers.
I had a play with the search, and ignoring the results, I though the GUI for it was way cool. It puts the results in a scrollable panel, the really neat thing was the way you can scroll all the results without having to click on “next” type links, its all in a single page. Looks like it ajaxes the results that are currently off the bottom of the scroll panel and fills them in as you scroll down. Anyway, this is great, I hate clicking to view the next set of results from google. And, yes, I know you can change the number of results returned in google. But this has to be done every time you change computer, or do a reinstall, and I only notice it once it already has become a problem.

JD’s Weblog » TechEd 2006 in review says 24 August 2006 @ 13:36

[...] One thing that I didn’t expect, but was happily surprised about, was that the Live initiative really is shaping up to be a compelling offering across the board. My earlier reservations have been quashed and I’m looking forward to the further development of the Live platform over the next six months. I guess the key message I would share about this is that perhaps while the live.com portal might not be your kettle of fish, the other services really are quite compelling. [...]

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