little over a month ago Yahoo announced that they were turning user profile pages into a social control panel. I spent a little time when they launched and was less than impressed. It was apparent that they had given a small half-hearted effort trying to create a Lifestream. Hutch Carpenter wrote a clear plan on how Yahoo could easily become a leading Lifestreaming service if they focused properly on resources to achieve it. The first step they need to take is simply by adding many of their owned properties which aren’t even currently offered as services to import such as Flickr and Delicious. This cake needs to bake for a while longer before we open the oven door again.
I recently read over on Steve Rubel’s blog stating that Google was inching closer to Lifestreaming having added a few more features to their user profile pages. Well, just adding a photo stream to what was previously just more of an outpost to other social media profiles doesn’t quite make for a compelling Lifestream, nevertheless it’s a better effort than Yahoo and a more deliberate action that clearly shows they are slowly dropping the pieces of the puzzle in place.
I decided to go edit my profile and see if I noticed anything new since a previous visit. I added my FriendFeed account to my profile and was happily surprised to see that by doing so, Google auto-discovered all of my social media profiles already listed on there. I was then able to pick and choose which of them were to be added to my Google profile as well as determine in which order each of them would appear. Google has added a very nice touch adding the underlying functionality to achieve this and make it easy for people to make their profiles rich very quickly.
A few days after Steve’s post there was a story on Digital Inspiration titled “Know The Benefits of Lifestreaming in Plain English“. Apparently the great teachers of tech at Common Craft had been hired by Microsoft to create a video showing how to easily create a Lifestream using the new features coming soon to windowlive.com
Common Craft always does such a good high level explanation, that this video can easily be used as a guide for explaining Lifestreaming to people and helping them understand its benefits regardless of the service used since the explanation is fairly generic. You can see the video below.
Microsoft’s initiative isn’t ready quite yet but you can get started with their beta program at windowslive.com now. I decided to give it a shot but after realizing that it required downloading new local client software for various tools I decided not to go any further. This is not what I would consider a viable contender in the Lifestreaming service game. What is Microsoft thinking? Perhaps they can get a lesson on where the web is going and what not to do from Joost with regards to client software. I’ll keep an eye out for reviews once available and probably give it another shot then, but for now I’ll wait.
The one similarity in all of these is that they are just isolated profiles that provide a disconnected view of our lives to others in the sense that they are not part of a socially interactive eco-system which is what most Lifestreaming services are currently aiming to be. They’re all obviously also tyring to find non-obtrusive ways of getting you to use and stay within their properties as best they can.
I think that’s a shortsighted view and the new web is not about parking ourselves at any one destination. Perhaps this is just an initial plan to dip their toes into this new Lifestreaming phenomenon at a slow pace. They are probably still coming to grips with how to incorporate how we are all evolving in the new socially interactive web. It will be interesting to see how each of these initiatives continue to be executed and ultimately play out.