MS Vine said to Improve, Simplify Social Networking

Dennis Faas's picture

Critics complain social networking kills privacy, allowing friends and enemies alike to slowly and methodically 'creep' your personal details without you ever having to know.

It would seem appropriate, then, that Microsoft's first major foray into social networking should be called "Vine," which both uses and attempts to improve upon Facebook and Twitter.

Vine works by asking users to download its special dashboard-style application. Once that's installed, a user is prompted to sign into his or her Windows Live account, where they're presented with a map-like interface that provides news and personal notifications based on events affecting their friends and colleagues and also the public at large.

Some 20,000 news sources are set to feed Vine with important headlines and public safety announcements. (Source:

Vine Meant to Improve Community Safety

Perhaps the most popular part of Vine will probably be its link to Facebook.

Vine allows users who have a Facebook account to receive notifications when a friend's status changes. The "Alerts" can arrive on your computer or can be forwarded to a cell phone, allowing users to keep in close contact with family members while on the drive home or a long business trip.

Microsoft believes the tool will be useful for family members who want to keep tabs on one another during important meetings, trips, and events, including emergencies.

Vine, unlike similar mobile tools, is meant to help with community management -- in other words, safety. However, it's also meant to provide a slimmed-down, simplified version of social networking that anyone can use, just about anywhere.

Simplified, Streamlined Social Networking

In a statement issued by Microsoft, Vine "aims to create an inclusive network so that ultimately anyone can participate through a social networking application such as Twitter or Facebook or using email, any computer connected to the Internet or a mobile phone, kitchen phone or a special needs device."

A private beta is currently being undertaken in Seattle, Microsoft's own neighborhood. As of this writing, the service only works in the United States with XP Service Pack 2 and Vista machines, but if Vine proves popular enough, support could be thrown open to a wider audience. (Source:

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