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Microsoft Wallop … A First Look
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 12/11/2004 06:36:00 PM.

Since the time Internet began to slowly creep into our lives, the first and foremost “killer-service” that truly changed the way we communicated was the email. The concept of reaching across continents to communicate with people, in almost no time, was considered revolutionary. As the usage of internet grew, the online social circle of people grew, even more so with the advent of Instant Messaging. These days email and IM are taken for granted, considered as the”Norm” of cyber life. The next thing to come was the discussion forums, providing online social life to millions.

For a year or so “Blogging” has started to catch on. Blogs provide a convenient way to post electronic diaries regarding people’s personal experiences. As people are just starting to ride the wave of blogging, a new and exciting set of services are starting to creep into people’s online social life. Reputed companies like Microsoft, Google and other are trying to tap the potential of integrated “Social-Networking” web applications. People utilizing these services will blog, communicate, share media among a closely selected group of people, i.e friends, family or peers, all of this under one service. These will serve as a closed private online community of people collaborating with each other. The choice of opening up media and communication to public will be left to individual participant.

Many consider these social-networks to be the next “killer” web applications, just like email and Instant Messaging.

Wallop is Microsoft's venture into the red-hot social-networking arena, using the common Microsoft tack of piecing together existing technologies and packaging them for the novice user. Those technologies include social-networking capabilities, super-simplistic blogging tools, moblogging, wikis and RSS feeds, all based on Microsoft's Instant Messenger functionality. In Wallop, you can share photos, blog, and interact with your friends. You might have thought, since when has Microsoft been providing a blog service. To your surprise Microsoft has just started a beta blog service by the name of MSN Spaces

Currently membership in Wallop is limited to study participants until the trial is over. Any participant who is a member can invite other members (just like GMail).

I happened to have an invitation to Wallop. Once I signed up and logged on, the interface felt a bit complicated. The menu and interfaces were nothing Microsoft had done yet. All very interactive, all Flash based animated interface. Within half an hour of experimentation I had my blog running, connected my non-Microsoft based blog’s RSS syndication to Wallop, shared couple of pictures and songs to the my newly created social network, passed messages around. Microsoft also provides the WallopIt! Upload Tool to upload multiple pictures and other files or whole directories by right-clicking on a file or a folder from a browser window.

Still at the Alpha stage, Wallop will continue to evolve into a more robust service as the backing of Microsoft will definitely carry its weight. Wallop is based on Microsoft .Net Technology and many people are already speculating it to be linked with the release of Microsoft Windows codename Longhorn.

Some other similar social engineering services are mentioned in the References section.

References and Links:

Microsoft Wallop : http://www.mywallop.com
WallopIt!Upload Tool : http://mywallop.com/wc/WallopAgent/WallopItShellExtSetup.msi
MSN Spaces : http:// spaces.msn.com/
Microsoft Social Computing web site : http://www.research.microsoft.com/scg/
Orkut : https://www.orkut.com
Rojo : http://www.rojo.com/
Jotspot : http://www.jot.com
Friendster : http://www.friendster.com

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