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Here Comes Microsoft

This week we’ve seen some of the big players stake their claims to the Web 2.0 world.  Microsoft has announced Windows Live, and Office Live will launch in first-quarter 2006.  The merits of both of these products is open to debate, and there is plenty of debate out there to read.  However, Windows Live could become very popular with users who do not consistently use one computer, such as library users.  Windows Live will offer a powerful email tool that will give users Outlook-like power from a browser-based product.  Windows Live will also have IM and VOIP tools built-in – that is big!  Users will no longer need to install separate applications in order to access IM and VOIP, these tools will function within the browser itself, providing maximum flexibility to the user.  The possibilities brought about by IM and VOIP browser integration are significant for our library world.

Almost just as exciting is Yahoo’s release last night of the new, Macromedia Flash-based, Yahoo Maps.  The great reviewers over at TechCrunch have looked at this latest development and their description sounds fascinating.  Instead of building the map on Ajax (as Google does), Yahoo chose to go with Flash, and there are some very real benefits.  Yahoo will still offer an API that will plug into Ajax applications.