We've complained with more than a touch of bitterness that Windows Live Services are confusing. You've got your Live Search, your Windows Live, your Windows Live Search, and so on. Some of which may be used either over the web or as applications, both on desktop and mobile. We could also bring up that “MSN” still seems to be hanging about here and there as well. It's a mess of dot-Net-size proportions.
So seeing this story over at Ars Technica was nice. Microsoft apparently intends to fix up the branding for Windows Live fairly soon as well as add some mystery features later on this year (“wave 3”), which will be much more search-centric. Internally the code name for this action is “Rome.”
Of course, this is all up in the air pending what shakes out of Microsoft's proposed buyout of Yahoo. We said the merger would be good for mobile services and we meant it. Hopefully the first benefit will be clearer names for all the goodies that Microsoft offers us in the cloud.
Over at LiveSide.net, a blog about Windows Live, we get some more details about what MS is thinking:
Re-branding Live Search on its own, without the Yahoo! acquisition, would be a move ripe for derision by Microsoft's detractors, seen as another flailing attempt to make a move on Google. But a new brand combining Live Search with Yahoo!, when it comes on board, makes much more sense. The new brand, with new market share and the combined engineering talents of Microsoft and Yahoo!, would lead the way in restructuring Microsoft's live services to accomodate the inclusion of Yahoo!. And for those who dwell in the past at Microsoft's laughable naming conventions, consider Silverlight and Popfly and a new generation of Microsoft branding, and that Live Search has already been disassociated with the Windows Live brand, possibly in preparation for exactly this move. With the need to consolidate search products as the top priority once the Yahoo! acquisition is in place, a move now to establish a new brand, neither Live Search or Yahoo! but a new brand for a new generation of search, comes at the right time.
In other words, they're hearing us loud and clear. Bravo!