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Microsoft unveils MSN Soapbox video service

20-February-2007
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Microsoft unveils MSN Soapbox video service

Microsoft has unveiled a public beta of its MSN Soapbox video-upload service, its competitor to Google's popular YouTube service. Last September, the company had made the beta available on an invitation-only basis in the US. However, now it is open to all, and those interested can test the service on http://soapbox.msn.com.

Like YouTube, Soapbox allows users not only to upload videos to the web in almost any digital video format but also to tag and categorise them so that other users can find them. The service also lets users watch videos and browse for new ones simultaneously on the same screen, something that differentiates it from YouTube, says Microsoft.

Soapbox, a part of Windows Live, allows users to upload, discover, and share personal videos with the Soapbox community and others around the world. It provides users with a number of benefits such as single-step uploading, background server-side video processing, and acceptance of all major digital video formats; video browsing spanning 15 categories, plus RSS feeds; and participation in the Soapbox community, with the ability to rate, comment on, or tag videos viewed, etc.

Interestingly, Soapbox allows users to simultaneously watch videos and browse for new ones on the same screen. Besides, all users can view Soapbox videos, but those with a Windows Live ID can comment on and upload new videos.

To compete with rivals such as Google and Yahoo, Microsoft has been assembling a raft of web-based services since November 2005. The company claims to have invested a significant amount of money in its web efforts.

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